We report a new experimental method for measuring relatively small differences in electron tunneling through two distinct monolayers. We place them side by side using scanning probe nanolithography and compare the tunneling currents by conductive probe atomic force microscopy under identical force, voltage, and tip contamination conditions. We demonstrate the validity of our approach by applying it to two isomeric molecules with similar length and functional groups, with only the position of two functional groups, one aromatic and the other aliphatic, being inverted with respect to each other. The relative values of the two tunneling currents, calculated using density functional theory and the Tersoff-Hamann approach, compare very well with the experimental data, providing us with an example of theory vs experiment agreement that is rather uncommon in this field.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry