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High-resolution SPM with functionalised tips

We have been the first to resolve the inner structure of a large organic molecule with scanning probe microscopy, providing images that resemble structure formulae of chemistry textbooks. To this end, we used STM tips that were functionalised with molecular hydrogen.

Studying the effects of hydrogen adsorption in the STM junction at low temperatures [1, 2, 3, 4], we have later shown that high-resolution imaging arises when the tip is functionalised by a probe particle (single Xe atom, H2 or CO molecule) that acts as a nanoscale force sensor. Together with the team of Nanosurf Lab we have identified the detailed mechanism of high-resolution imaging with functionalised STM and AFM tips [5, 6]. Inspired by this work, we went on to explore nanoscale sensor-transducer concepts further [7]. This led us to the discovery of SQDM.