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Silicon atoms, STM

Silicon atoms, STM

C021/5744

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Credit

IBM RESEARCH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY IBM RESEARCH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Silicon atoms, coloured scanning tunnelling micrograph (STM). This is one of the first images of individual surface atoms and the bonds that hold them in place ever taken. It was taken at the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory where the STM was invented in 1981 by the Swiss physicist Heinrich Rohrer and German physicist Gerd Binnig. 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. Binnig and Rohrer were awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986 for their work.

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