Scanning Tunneling and Local Probe Studies of Fullerenes

Fullerenes are a new class of objects that have been explored using nanoscale science techniques. Particularly appealing features of fullerenes are that they are easily imaged, mechanically rugged and can be reversibly deformed by a probe tip. Well-ordered assemblies can be studied and their preparation optimized by using scanning probe microscopy (SPM) methods. Endo- and exohedral doping, as well as external ligand attachment, provide opportunities for exploring functionality using local probe experiments. Here I summarize recent results covering several aspects of SPM research starting with the optimization of fullerene films in an epitaxial layer-by-layer growth mode. As SPM treats nanometer-sized structures as individuals, I also describe local experiments with fullerenes where the properties of single molecules are probed. These include measurements of electronic structure and electron transport through single molecules. Energy dissipation by inelastic tunneling-induced light emission is presented as an example where unique properties are explored with high spatial resolution. With respect to the handling of small quantities of exotic endohedral species on the nano- and atto-Mole level, I shall discuss special techniques developed to enable SPM studies of tiny samples. Finally, a concept of fullerenes as nano-memory devices will be outlined.

By: J. K. Gimzewski

Published in: Proceedings of NATO ARW on the Chemical Physics of Fullerenes 10 (and 5) Years later, edited by W. Andreoni. , Dordrecht, Kluwer, p.117-36 in 1996

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