Real space evidence for reversible metal–metal bond rearrangement induced by AFM tip force


  • The work at North Carolina State University was supported by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Materials Sciences, U. S. Department of Energy, under Grant DE-FG05-86ER45259. The work at the University of Freiburg was supported by the European Community under the Human Capital and Mobility Project (ERBCHRXCT940675). We thank Dr. M. Evain and Dr. S. Jobic for samples of NbTe2.


The reversible rearrangement of weak metal‒metal bonds in layered transition metal chalcogenides is shown to be induced by the force exerted by the tip of an atomic force microscope. The figure shows how the ribbon chains which make up the layers of NbTe2 are reversibly switched by 60° by increasing ad decreasing the force at the tip.

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