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Controlled injection of a liquid into ultra-high vacuum: Submonolayers of adenosine triphosphate deposited on Cu(110)
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We have combined a fast-valve device with vacuum technology for implementing a new method that allows introducing liquid solutions in an ultra-high vacuum chamber in the form of very small droplets. This technical development allows the easy deposition of (bio) organic molecules or small nanoparticles on a surface in a fully in-situ process, avoiding possible contamination due to the handle of the material. Moreover, our experimental set-up is suitable for any liquid and does not require any voltage application as in electrospray. We can easily change the operating regime from liquid droplet injection to the formation of a highly dispersive jet of micro-droplets by exclusively adjusting external parameters. Due to the nature of the injection process, the operational protocol makes possible the deposition of delicate molecular species that cannot be thermally sublimated. In particular, we have used this system to study the deposition of adenosine triphosphate on Cu(110). The structure of the layer was analyzed by X-ray photoemission spectroscopy and the evolution of the signal from the deposited molecule with the number of injections indicates that the molecular coverage can be controlled with submonolayer precision.
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