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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
Surveyor of the Atomic Landscape
20 July 1999 7:00 pm
is the 52nd birthday of Gerd Binnig, a German physicist who, together with Heinrich Rohrer, invented the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), an instrument used to create atomic-level images of surfaces.
While working at the IBM Research Laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland, Binnig and Rohrer set out to develop a tool for studying the conductivity of surfaces, making use of the wavelike properties of electrons, which allow them to "tunnel" across a small gap between a surface and a probe. In 1981, the work led to the first scanning tunneling microscope, which images surface topography as well as conductivity. It uses a sharp tungsten probe only one angstrom wide positioned just a few angstroms above the sample surface. A small voltage between the tip and the surface causes electrons to tunnel across the gap. As the probe scans the sample, surface undulations cause variations in the tunneling current, which are recorded and used to produce an image. Their first STM image showed rows of evenly spaced atoms on a gold surface.
The invention, which won Binnig and Rohrer the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1986, opened up a whole new era in surface science.
[Source: Britannica Online]