Atomic-Scale Coupling of Photons to Single-Molecule Junctions

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Science  02 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5778, pp. 1362-1365
DOI: 10.1126/science.1124881

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Spatial resolution at the atomic scale has been achieved in the coupling of light to single molecules adsorbed on a surface. Electron transfer to a single molecule induced by green to near-infrared light in the junction of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) exhibited spatially varying probability that is confined within the molecule. The mechanism involves photo-induced resonant tunneling in which a photoexcited electron in the STM tip is transferred to the molecule. The coupling of photons to the tunneling process provides a pathway to explore molecular dynamics with the combined capabilities of lasers and the STM.

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