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Optical Detection of Atoms Near Surfaces

Since the advent of lasers in the field of atomic or molecular spectroscopy, the investigation of small concentrations of particles a few Angstroms apart from metallic or dielectric surfaces has been a challenge. We have developed a new laser-based method that combines two-photon high-resolution spectroscopy with organized monolayer film growth on planar (≤ λ/1000) surfaces. Layers of organized fatty acid films are prepared on epitaxially grown metal films on mica, and atoms adsorbed on top of the fatty acid films are examined spectroscopically in an ultrahigh vacuum (UHV), p0 ≤ 10-10 mbar, environment.

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