Research CommentariesSURFACE SCIENCE

How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

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Science  12 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5370, pp. 1715
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5370.1715

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Scanning probe microscopies are now well-established methods for making images of molecules and materials at the atomic level. But now, scanning probe methods can also measure spectroscopic properties--the energy levels of molecules. In his Research Commentary, Pethica discusses results presented in the same issue by Stipe et al. in which a scanned probe was used to study vibrational states of molecules on surfaces. As a demonstration of the technique, the researchers were able to detect the energy shift of a deuterated form of acetylene. The combination of spatial and spectroscopic resolution should provide a powerful tool for surface scientists.