|| (a) Using a scanning tunneling microscope (STM), a device that can image and move individual
atoms, the researchers manipulate the native copper atoms on a surface.
(b) A single copper atom is located in the vicinity of an adsorbed CO molecule. Since the researchers know the arrangement and spacing between copper atoms on the surface, a sort of surveyor's grid can be established which allows the position of the visitor to be located with new accuracy.
(c) With this grid in place, the carbon monoxide then became a "marker," providing information on how other species, such as nearby ethen (C2
Gerhard Meyer and his colleagues at the Free University of Berlin have devised a new technique for providing insights into one of the central questions of surface science: when foreign atoms and molecules are adsorbed onto surfaces, do they sit directly on top of the substrate atoms or do they settle into the crevices between them?
||STM image of copper atom and nearby carbon monoxide atom. The copper atom (Cu) has been transferred close to a carbon monoxide (CO) molecule. From the location of the single Cu atom the CO location is determined. The grid corresponds to the spacing and arrangement of copper atoms on the surface. (Courtesy Gerhard Meyer, Karl-Heinz Rieder, and Ludwig Bartels, Free University of Berlin)|
This research was reported in Physical Review Letters 77, 2133 (1996).