Visually constructing the chemical structure of a single molecule by scanning Raman picoscopy
National Science Review 6(6):1169-1175 Nov 2019 

Zhang, Yao; Yang, Ben; Ghafoor, Atif; Zhang, Yang; Zhang, Yu-Fan; Wang, Rui-Pu; Yang, Jin-Long; Luo, Yi; Dong, Zhen-Chao; Hou, J. G.


The strong spatial confinement of a nanocavity plasmonic field has made it possible to visualize the inner structure of a single molecule and even to distinguish its vibrational modes in real space. With such ever-improved spatial resolution, it is anticipated that full vibrational imaging of a molecule could be achieved to reveal molecular structural details. Here we demonstrate full Raman images of individual vibrational modes at the ångström level for a single Mg-porphine molecule, revealing distinct characteristics of each vibrational mode in real space. Furthermore, by exploiting the underlying interference effect and Raman fingerprint database, we propose a new methodology for structural determination, which we have called ‘scanning Raman picoscopy’, to show how such ultrahigh-resolution spectromicroscopic vibrational images can be used to visually assemble the chemical structure of a single molecule through a simple Lego-like building process. 

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