Real-Time Observation of the Vibration of a Single Adsorbed Molecule

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Science  19 Nov 1993:
Vol. 262, Issue 5137, pp. 1244-1247
DOI: 10.1126/science.262.5137.1244


The newly developed femtosecond field emission camera was used to observe the time dependence of field emission through a single copper phthalocyanine molecule adsorbed on a tungsten tip. In many of the individual 212-picosecond-long recordings, the field emission was found to oscillate with a frequency between 5 x 1010 and 20 x 1010 hertz. The oscillations, which were not observed from a bare tip, are believed to arise from the vibration of a single molecule with respect to the surface. Numerical simulations confirmed the statistical significance of the data.