Anisotropic Ballistic Transport Revealed by Molecular Nanoprobe Experiments

M. Leisegang, R. Schindhelm, J. Kügel, and M. Bode


Atomic-scale charge transport properties are not only of significant fundamental interest but also highly relevant for numerous technical applications. However, experimental methods that are capable of detecting charge transport at the relevant single-digit nanometer length scale are scarce. Here we report on molecular nanoprobe experiments on Pd(110), where we use the charge carrier-driven switching of a single cis-2-butene molecule to detect ballistic transport properties over length scales of a few nanometers. Our data demonstrate a striking angular dependence with a dip in the charge transport along the [1¯10]-oriented atomic rows and a peak in the transverse [001] direction. The narrow angular width of both features and distance-dependent measurements suggest that the nanometer-scale ballistic transport properties of metallic surfaces are significantly influenced by the atomic structure.

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