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December 1st, 2005
Add Some Atoms, Squeeze Some Buckyballs, Flip a Switch
In experiments with a single layer of carbon-60 molecules, buckyballs, coating a substrate of gold and doped with varying proportions of potassium atoms, Crommie and his colleagues used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) at very low temperature to obtain images of what happens as electrons are added to each buckyball. On average, each potassium atom donates a single electron to a neighboring buckyball.
"Because we are looking at a two-dimensional layer of C60, we can see things that would be impossible to see in bulk materials," Michael Crommie of Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division says. "We can directly observe how single-molecule behavior drives the collective behavior of the material."
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
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