Reorganization energy upon charging a single molecule on an insulator measured by atomic force microscopy

Realizing single-electron transport between adsorbates on a non-conductive lm is a key goal of molecular electronics [1{3]. Importantly, electron-transfer rates in molecular systems depend on a few fundamental parameters, such as distance between adsorbates, temperature [4{6] and in particular the Marcus reorganization energy [7]. This crucial parameter is the energy gain resulting from the distortion of the equilibrium nuclear geometry in the molecule and its environment upon charging. Here, we investigate redox reactions of naphthalocyanine molecules on a multilayered insulating NaCl lm at 5 K. By employing the atomic force microscope as an ultra-low current meter based on single-electron detection we show that the differential conductance related to charge-state transitions can be measured. The hole reorganization energy of naphthalocyanine on NaCl is then quantified as (0.8 0.2) eV. Density functional theory calculations corroborate the measured energy values and provide a detailed picture of the ionic and atomic relaxations upon individual charging. Our approach presents a versatile route to perform tunneling spectroscopy of single adsorbates on insulating substrates and provides fundamental insight into single-electron transport between molecules.

For further information please contact

By: Shadi Fatayer, Bruno Schuler, Wolfram Steurer, Ivan Scivetti, Jascha Repp, Leo Gross, Mats Persson, Gerhard Meyer

Published in: Nature Nanotechnology, volume 13, (no 5), pages 10.1038/s41565-018-0087-1 in 2018


This Research Report is available. This report has been submitted for publication outside of IBM and will probably be copyrighted if accepted for publication. It has been issued as a Research Report for early dissemination of its contents. In view of the transfer of copyright to the outside publisher, its distribution outside of IBM prior to publication should be limited to peer communications and specific requests. After outside publication, requests should be filled only by reprints or legally obtained copies of the article (e.g., payment of royalties). I have read and understand this notice and am a member of the scientific community outside or inside of IBM seeking a single copy only.


Questions about this service can be mailed to .