The Scanning Tunneling Microscope or STM is widely used in industrial and fundamental research to obtain atomic scale images of metallic surfaces. It provides a three-dimensional profile of the surface and provides useful information for characterizing surface roughness, observing surface defects, and determining the size and conformation of molecules and aggregates. Scanning tunneling microscope history
Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer are the inventors of scanning tunneling microscope (STM). Invented in 1981, the device provided the first images of individual atoms on the surface of materials.
Gerd Binning and Heinrich Rohrer
Binnig, along with colleague Rohrer, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986 for their work on scanning tunneling microscopy. Born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1947, Dr. Binnig studied at the JW Goethe University in Frankfurt and received his bachelor’s degree in 1973, as well as his doctorate five years later in 1978.
He joined a physics research group at IBM’s Zurich Research Laboratory the same year. The Doctor. Binnig was assigned to IBM’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California from 1985 to 1986, and was a visiting professor at Stanford University from 1987 to 1988. He was named an IBM Fellow in 1987 and continues to be a member of the research team. from IBM’s Zurich Research Lab. Scanning tunneling microscope history
Born in Buchs, Switzerland, in 1933, Dr. Rohrer was educated at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1955 and his doctorate in 1960. After doing postdoctoral work at the Swiss Federal Institute and Rutgers University in the US, Dr. Rohrer joined IBM’s newly formed Zurich Research Laboratory to study – among other things – Kondo materials and antiferromagnets. He then turned his attention to tunnel scanning microscopy. The Doctor. Rohrer was named an IBM Fellow in 1986 and was Manager of the Physical Sciences Department at the Zurich Research Laboratory from 1986 to 1988. He retired from IBM in July 1997 and passed away on May 16, 2013. Scanning tunneling microscope history
Binnig and Rohrer were recognized for developing the powerful microscopy technique that forms an image of individual atoms on a metal or semiconductor surface by examining the tip of a needle over the surface at a height of just a few diameters. They shared the prize with German scientist Ernst Ruska, the designer of the first electron microscope . Several scanning microscopy use scanning technology developed for the STM.
Russell Young and the Topografiner
A similar microscope called the Topografiner was invented by Russell Young and his colleagues between 1965 and 1971 at the National Bureau of Standards, now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This microscope works on the principle that the left and right piezoelectric units examine the tip above and slightly above the surface of the specimen. The center piezo is controlled by a servo system to maintain a constant tension, which results in a consistent vertical separation between the tip and the surface. An electron multiplier detects the small fraction of the tunneling current that is scattered across the surface of the sample. Scanning tunneling microscope history