First single molecule potentiometer


Interpreting electron transport through molecular junctions lies in the broad interest of understanding nanoscale junctions, which are sensitive to both physical and chemical parameters. 

In a Letter recently published in Physical Review, Sujoy Karan, and colleagues from the group of Professor Richard Berndt, the Max-Planck-Institut für Mikrostrukturphysik and the Universities of Hamburg and Würzburg report how the electrostatic potential is distributed across a junction comprising single molecules coupled to macroscopic electrodes. 

Contacting a porphyrin molecule on gold in a low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope, they showed a way to utilize a sharp spectral feature to obtain information on the local potential of the molecule. 

The paper is featured in APS Physics.