Single electron tunneling and manipulation of nanoparticles on surfaces at room temperature

Guohua Yang, Li Tan, Yiyun Yang, Shaowei Chen, Gang-yu Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This article focuses on surfaces containing nanoparticles and self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). These surfaces provide a simple and reliable platform for measurements of single electron tunneling (SET) properties of metal nanoparticles at room temperature. This approach of interfacial chemistry allows for the elimination of lateral motion of the individual nanoparticles during electronic property studies. The scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) in ultra-high vacuum is used as an accurate and reproducible probe for imaging and I-V characterization of individual or aggregated Au nanoparticles, revealing a large Coulomb gap (1.0 eV) and fine Coulomb staircases (0.2-0.3 eV) at room temperature. The surrounding decanethiol SAM provides an ideal reference for the imaging and I-V measurements of nanoparticles. These measurements provide a quantitative guide for regulating current and voltage, at which individual Au nanoparticles may be detached and manipulated with the STM tip.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalSurface Science
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005


  • Coulomb blockade
  • Coulomb staircases
  • Molecular electronics
  • Nanoparticles
  • Scanning tunneling microscopy
  • Single electron effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces


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