Document Type

Journal Article

Department/ Unit

Institute of Computational and Theoretical Studies

Abstract

The origin of the contrast in noncontact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM) images, which is interpreted as intramolecular and intermolecular bonds, is still under debate. On the basis of the ab initio approach and explicitly including the tilt effect of the flexible CO tip, we reveal that the outermost electron density of the sample dominates the AFM contrast by corrugating of the repulsive force that determines the frequency shift and the lateral behavior of the flexible tip. Consequently, we find that various aspects of bond images in AFM are governed by features of the electron density residing between nuclei; for example, in a π-conjugated system, the brightness of bonds is similar to that of atoms in AFM images due to the gently undulating π electron density; bright lines can arise between two bonded atoms (e.g., in a hydrogen bond) and also between “nonbonded” atoms (e.g., between two Xe atoms) due to the spatial overlapping of the outermost electrons.

Publication Year

2015

Journal Title

Journal of Physical Chemistry C

Volume number

119

Issue number

25

Publisher

American Chemical Society

First Page (page number)

14195

Last Page (page number)

14200

Referreed

1

DOI

10.1021/acs.jpcc.5b02649

ISSN (print)

19327455

Link to Publisher’s Edition

https://dx.doi.org/American Chemical Society

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