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Insights Into Molecular Structure Via Atomic Force Microscopy

Mark Wolf
Mark Wolf
Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry
University of Georgia
Physical Seminar

Accurately characterizing the structure of molecules is a fundamental goal for chemists. Many powerful techniques exist to do so (e.g. NMR, IR Spectroscopy, X-ray Crystallography, etc.) and have proven themselves to be extremely effective. However, there are certain cases where these standard ensemble methods struggle to characterize certain systems. In 1986, Binning and coworkers developed Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) as a complementary method to these traditional techniques. AFM’s remarkable ability to probe and image individual molecules sets it apart from the aforementioned methods. An overview of the AFM instrument, a discussion of its strengths and weaknesses relative to other methods, and a survey of many interesting and recent applications of AFM techniques will be presented in this seminar. Some of these applications include: the determination of adsorption geometries, qualitative measurements of bond orders, and the characterization of reaction intermediates in situ.

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