Real-Space Observation of Molecular Motion Induced by Femtosecond Laser Pulses

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Science  30 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5684, pp. 648-651
DOI: 10.1126/science.1099770

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Femtosecond laser irradiation is used to excite adsorbed CO molecules on a Cu(110) surface; the ensuing motion of individual molecules across the surface is characterized on a site-to-site basis by in situ scanning tunneling microscopy. Adsorbate motion both along and perpendicular to the rows of the Cu(110) surface occurs readily, in marked contrast to the behavior seen for equilibrium diffusion processes. The experimental findings for the probability and direction of the molecular motion can be understood as a manifestation of strong coupling between the adsorbates' lateral degrees of freedom and the substrate electronic excitation produced by the femtosecond laser radiation.

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