Report

Bond-Order Discrimination by Atomic Force Microscopy

Science  14 Sep 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6100, pp. 1326-1329
DOI: 10.1126/science.1225621

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Abstract

We show that the different bond orders of individual carbon-carbon bonds in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and fullerenes can be distinguished by noncontact atomic force microscopy (AFM) with a carbon monoxide (CO)–functionalized tip. We found two different contrast mechanisms, which were corroborated by density functional theory calculations: The greater electron density in bonds of higher bond order led to a stronger Pauli repulsion, which enhanced the brightness of these bonds in high-resolution AFM images. The apparent bond length in the AFM images decreased with increasing bond order because of tilting of the CO molecule at the tip apex.

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