Raman spectroscopy is widely used to identify molecules by detecting their signature molecular vibrations. The technology has been refined to be effective at the single-molecule level by making use of strong localized plasmonic fields that can enhance spectral signals. This study goes further, with the demonstration of a technique related to 'tip-enhanced Raman scattering' (TERS) that allows precise tuning of the plasmon resonance and Raman spectral imaging with a spatial resolution below 1 nm, resolving even the inner structure of a single molecule and its configuration on the surface. The technique opens a new path to photochemistry at the single-molecule level, offering the potential to design, control and engineer the functionality of molecules on demand.
- Optical spectroscopy goes intramolecular (News & Views p44, doi: 10.1038/498044a)
- Chemical mapping of a single molecule by plasmon-enhanced Raman scattering (Letter p82, doi: 10.1038/nature12151)
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