Inelastic Electron Tunneling Spectroscopy

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Science  24 Jun 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4604, pp. 1345-1351
DOI: 10.1126/science.220.4604.1345


Inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy is a useful technique for the study of vibrational modes of molecules adsorbed on the surface of oxide layers in a metal-insulator-metal tunnel junction. The technique involves studying the effects of adsorbed molecules on the tunneling spectrum of such junctions. The data give useful information about the structure, bonding, and orientation of adsorbed molecules. One of the major advantages of inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy is its sensitivity. It is capable of detecting on the order of 1010 molecules (a fraction of a monolayer) on a 1-square-millimeter junction. It has been successfully used in studies of catalysis, biology, trace impurity detection, and electronic excitations. Because of its high sensitivity, this technique shows great promise in the area of solid-state electronic chemical sensing.