Science ( IF 41.845 ) Pub Date : 2020-11-20 , DOI: 10.1126/science.abd0696 Donato Civita, Marek Kolmer, Grant J. Simpson, An-Ping Li, Stefan Hecht, Leonhard Grill
Spatial control over molecular movement is typically limited because motion at the atomic scale follows stochastic processes. We used scanning tunneling microscopy to bring single molecules into a stable orientation of high translational mobility where they moved along precisely defined tracks. Single dibromoterfluorene molecules moved over large distances of 150 nanometers with extremely high spatial precision of 0.1 angstrom across a silver (111) surface. The electrostatic nature of the effect enabled the selective application of repulsive and attractive forces to send or receive single molecules. The high control allows us to precisely move an individual and specific molecular entity between two separate probes, opening avenues for velocity measurements and thus energy dissipation studies of single molecules in real time during diffusion and collision.