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Efficient Transport of Gold Atoms with a Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Tip and a Linker Molecule

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posted on 02.08.2011 by J. Anibal Boscoboinik, Ryan R. Kohlmeyer, Jian Chen, Wilfred T. Tysoe
A thiophene-containing molecule attached to a scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) tip is used to transport gold atoms on a Au(111) surface. The molecule contains eight thiophene rings and therefore has sulfur atoms that are known to bind to gold atoms. Using a gold-coated tip, the molecules previously deposited on the surface bind to the lower-coordination gold atoms of the tip. When that tip is used to scan the surface, the still free thiophene rings (not all of the sulfur atoms bind to the tip) can attach to gold atoms from the surface and drag them along the scanning direction, depositing them either at the position where the tip changes its scanning direction or where the tip encounters an “up step”, whichever event occurs first.

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