In a recent study published in the scientific journal Nature Nanotechnology, physicists and chemists of the University of Münster (Germany) describe an experimental approach to visualising structures of organic molecules with exceptional resolution.
The key to this newly developed microscopic method is the high stability of a particularly sharp and atomically defined probe tip.
The new method which can be used to image the structural and chemical properties of organic molecules with extreme precision was developed by physics researchers in the labs of the Center for Nanotechnology (CeNTech) at the University of Münster.
The experiment is based on atomic force microscopy where sample surfaces are scanned with the apex of a needle-like probe.
As the lead author of the study Dr. Harry Mönig explains: "Our special technique involves a copper-based probe tip which is passivated by a single oxygen atom at the tip termination."
Here, passivation means that the oxygen atom reduces undesired interaction between the atoms of the tip and the atoms in the molecules under investigation.