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Issue 71, 2018
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Copper-oxide tip functionalization for submolecular atomic force microscopy

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Abstract

Establishing submolecular imaging in real-space by non-contact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM) has been a major breakthrough in the field of organic surface chemistry. The key for the drastically increased resolution in these experiments is to functionalize a metallic tip apex with an inert probe particle. However, due to their weak bonding at the metal apex, these probe particles show a pronounced dynamic lateral deflection in the measurements. This constitutes a major limitation of this approach as it involves image distortions, an overestimation of bond lengths, and even artificial bond-like contrast features where actually no bonds exist. In this contribution, recent progress by using an alternative approach by copper-oxide tip functionalization is reviewed. Copper-oxide tips (CuOx tips) consist of a bulk copper apex, terminated by a covalently connected single oxygen atom, which chemically passivates the tip. Such CuOx tips can be identified by contrast analysis at specific surface sites and allow for submolecular resolution. A comparative analysis of data recorded with flexible tips allows a detailed discussion of the contrast mechanisms and related artificial effects. It is concluded with an assessment of limitations, future challenges and opportunities in such experiments.

Graphical abstract: Copper-oxide tip functionalization for submolecular atomic force microscopy

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Article information


Submitted
02 Jul 2018
Accepted
14 Aug 2018
First published
14 Aug 2018

Chem. Commun., 2018,54, 9874-9888
Article type
Feature Article

Copper-oxide tip functionalization for submolecular atomic force microscopy

H. Mönig, Chem. Commun., 2018, 54, 9874
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC05332D

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