Scanning tunneling microscope (STM)


A microscope that measures microscopic geometry by keeping the tunneling current between the probe and the specimen constant while scanning the probe in a raster pattern.

When an extremely sharpened probe approaches to the surface of a solid material at a distance of 1 to 2 nm and applying a voltage, a tunneling current is produced between them. By controlling the probe position so as to keep the tunneling current constant while the probe is moved in the horizontal direction, the surface profile in atomic scale can be obtained. This microscope is applied to micro-manipulation where molecules are separated from the surface of a solid specimen.


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