Heinrich Rohrer, Swiss Physicist

Heinrich Rohrer, Swiss Physicist

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Credit: EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Heinrich Rohrer (1933-2013), Swiss physicist. Rohrer studied physics at the Swiss Federal Institute (ETH) in Zurich under Pauli. He gained his PhD, in superconductivity, in 1960. In 1963 he joined IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory where his research interests included phase transitions, critical phenomena and nanomechanics. While at IBM, Rohrer and his colleague Gerd Binnig designed the scanning tunnelling microscope (STM). The STM uses a fine needle with an electric potential running through it to scan the surface of an object. It is able to obtain very high magnifications, even visualising individual atoms. Rohrer and Binnig were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986 for this work.

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