We are using both the STM and a novel STM/AFM combination instrument to probe electron transfer in single molecules. This is important for understanding processes such as photosynthesis and for building molecular electronic devices. It also touches on some interesting quantum mechanics!
To do this, we need to be able to make a variety of interesting molecules and tether them to a conducting substrate. We are working with Tom and Anna Moore and Devens Gust of the ASU Center for Early Events in Photosynthesis. We meet regularly to design new molecules, review our measurements and translate physics-speak into chemistry-speak and vice versa. Considerable effort is needed in pulling together the theoretical approaches of physicists and chemists, and one of collaborators (Otto Sankey) is a theoretical physicist working on this problem.
This work is funded by the Division of Biological Instrumentation of the NSF.