Researchers Tune the Electronic Properties of Individual C60 Molecules
By using the STMs tip to move a C60 molecule over potassium atoms one at a time, the buckyball can reliably be made to acquire up to four potassium-atom dopants
As a buckyball acquires potassium-atom dopants the energy state of its molecular orbitals shifts, causing the doped molecule to "light up" in the STM image.
A team led by Michael Crommie, a staff scientist in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratorys Materials Sciences Division and a professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley, has used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to attach individual potassium atoms to isolated carbon-60 molecules.
By adding potassium atoms to familiar soccer-ball-shaped "buckyballs," Crommie and his coworkers can increase the electric charge on each C60 molecule; individual potassium atoms are either attached or removed from a C60 molecule using the tip of an STM. The method demonstrates that the electronic properties of an individual molecular structure can be reversibly tuned with atomic precision. The researchers report their work in the 12 March 2004 issue of the journal Science.
Paul Preuss | LBNL
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