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Phys Rev Lett. 2015 Aug 14;115(7):076101. Epub 2015 Aug 13.

Probing Charges on the Atomic Scale by Means of Atomic Force Microscopy.

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Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics, University of Regensburg, 93053 Regensburg, Germany.
Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Regensburg, 93053 Regensburg, Germany.
Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 16253 Prague, Czech Republic.


Kelvin probe force spectroscopy was used to characterize the charge distribution of individual molecules with polar bonds. Whereas this technique represents the charge distribution with moderate resolution for large tip-molecule separations, it fails for short distances. Here, we introduce a novel local force spectroscopy technique which allows one to better disentangle electrostatic from other contributions in the force signal. It enables one to obtain charge-related maps at even closer tip-sample distances, where the lateral resolution is further enhanced. This enhanced resolution allows one to resolve contrast variations along individual polar bonds.

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