PerspectiveApplied Physics

Molecular Orbitals Tell the Story

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Science  21 Oct 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5747, pp. 453-454
DOI: 10.1126/science.1119274

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Techniques such as photoemission spectroscopy can offer valuable data about molecular nanostructures, but the clearest insights are sometimes provided by examining a single molecule in a material. In his Perspective, O'Shea discusses results reported in the same issue by Wachowiak et al. in which scanning tunneling microscopy was used to study an important molecular distortion that occurs in fullerene thin films. Such fullerene films show promise as molecular electronic devices. Combined with theoretical calculations, the measurements offer a detailed view of how these molecules behave in a nanostructure.