Tunneling Microscope - STM
to The History of Microscopes
scanning tunneling microscope ( STM ) is widely used in both industrial
and fundamental research to obtain atomic-scale images of metal surfaces.
It provides a three-dimensional profile of the surface which is very useful
for characterizing surface roughness, observing surface defects, and determining
the size and conformation of molecules and aggregates on the surface. Several
other recently developed scanning microscopies also use the scanning technology
developed for the STM. A precursor instrument, the topografiner,
was invented by Russell Young and colleagues between 1965 and 1971 at the
National Bureau of Standards (NBS) [currently the National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST)].
Image of single atomic zig-zag chain
of Cs atoms (red) on the GaAs(110) surface
IBM Press Release: Gerd Binnig,
along with his colleague, Heinrich Rohrer, was awarded the Nobel Prize
in Physics in in 1986 for his work in scanning tunneling microscopy. Binnig
and Rohrer were recognized for developing the powerful microscopy technique,
which can form an image of individual atoms on a metal or semiconductor
surface by scanning the tip of a needle overthe surface at a height of
only a few atomic diameters. They shared the award with German scientist
Ernst Ruska, designer of the first
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, on July
20, 1947, Dr. Binnig was educated at J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt,
where he received his bachelor's degree in 1973 and his doctorate degree
in 1978. That year he joined a physics research group at IBM's Zurich Research
Laboratory. Dr. Binnig was assigned to IBM's Almaden Research Center in
San Jose, Calif., from 1985 to 1986, and was a visiting professor at nearby
Stanford University from 1987 to 1988.
Dr. Binnig was appointed an IBM Fellow
in 1987 and remains a research staff member at IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory.
IBM Press Release: Born in
Buchs, Switzerland, on June 6, 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 degree in 1960. After post-doctoral work
at the Swiss Federal Institute and Rutgers University in the United States,
Dr. Rohrer joined IBM's newly formed Zurich Research Laboratory, studying,
among other things, Kondo materials and antiferromagnets before turning
his attention to scanning tunneling microscopy. Dr. Rohrer was appointed
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.
Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer
are the inventors of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), invented
in 1981, which provided the first images of individual atoms on the surfaces
of materials. - National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Russell Young obtained his B.S. degree
in physics from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1953 and his Ph.D.
degree in physics from Pennsylvania State University in 1959. He remained
at Penn State in the laboratory of Professor Erwin Mueller for his postdoctoral
research, which was marked by several outstanding achievements. Among these
were the development of a high resolution field emission energy analyzer
and the first measurement of the total energy distribution of field emitted
electrons, as well as contributions to the development of the low temperature
field ion microscope. He came to the National Bureau of Standards in 1961.
His development of the Topografiner was
an outgrowth of his continued study of surfaces at NBS. After the termination
of this project in 1971, he remained at NBS in both a technical and an
administrative role until his retirement in 1981. Since then he has actively
pursued his interests as an inventor, as a private consultant to industry
and government (including NIST), and as a grandfather and a sailor.
Invented the "electrochemical paintbrush",
part of nanotechnology used in etching microchips.
Photos of Binnig and Rohrer Courtesy
of International Business Machines Corporation. Unauthorized use not permitted.
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