King Faisal Prize

The pair’s relentless work led to the development of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) for which the duo won a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986. Binnig also invented the atomic force microscope (AFM). Professor Binnig met fellow researcher Heinrich Rohrer at IBM in Zurich.

Rohrer had been at the IBM lab since 1963 and also had a background in superconductivity. Together Binnig and Rohrer became interested in exploring the characteristics of the surface of materials.

Electrons can “tunnel” through touching and overlapping cloudsbetween two surfaces. Ivar Giaever of General Electric verified this experimentally in 1960. Binnig had investigated tunneling in superconductors during his graduate studies.

Prof. Dr. Gerd Karl Binnig

The 5×5 array with integrated force sensing and tip heating has been fabricated using a recently developed, all dry, silicon backside etching process. The levers on the array have integrated piezoresistive sensing, and are placed on a constriction in the lever to improve sensitivity. The array is scanned in x and y directions using voice coil actuators. Three additional voice coil z actuators are used in a triangular arrangement to approach the sample with the array chip. The system is thus leveled in the same way as an air table.

Physics History Network

Microstructure surface texture is studied with the Scanning Tunneling Microscope operated at atmospheric air pressure. A standardization procedure for surface microstructure is proposed. We introduce two parameters in order to characterize surface areas in the micrometer and submicrometre range, which we term “granular roughness” and “microroughness”. Measurements of a class “0” standard block gauge give a granular roughness Ra value of 0.02 μm. A link between scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and conventional transmission electron microscopy (TEM) has been established by applying STM on freeze-dried recA-DNA complexes coated with a conducting film.

Because the Atomic Force Microscope relies on the forces between the tip and sample, these forces impact AFM imaging. The force is not measured directly, but calculated by measuring the deflection of the lever, knowing the stiffness of the cantilever. Often referred to as scanning probe microscopy (SPM), there are Atomic Force Microscopy techniques for almost any measurable force interaction – van der Waals, electrical, magnetic, thermal. For some of the more specialized techniques, modified tips and software adjustments are needed. The 2016 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience is awarded to Gerd Binnig, Christoph Gerber, Calvin Quate for the invention and realization of atomic force microscopy, a breakthrough in measurement technology and nanosculpting that continues to have a transformative impact on nanoscience and technology.

Since then, every year has seen new inventions in the rapidly growing field of scanning probe microscopes. They are now imaging bits on magnetic surfaces, measuring temperature at microscopic sites, and monitoring the progress of chemical reactions.

Tunneling spectroscopy performed with the scanning tunneling microscope is used to study image-type surface states. The tunneling tip causes a Stark shift and expansion of the hydrogenic image-state spectrum, permitting a clear resolution of the individual states. A simple theoretical model provides a quantitative connection between the tunneling data, and both previous and new inverse-photoemission data.

Still an extremely productive scientist, he and his team developed what they call the “Cognition Network,” which used technology that closely simulates the patterns of human thought. Binnig stepped down from leadership of the IBM physics group in Munich in 1995. As a young man, Binnig pursued a strong interest in music, having been exposed to classical music at an early age.

The silicon atoms on the surface of a crystal of silicon carbide (SiC). Image obtained using an STM.

6 Super-resolution Microscopy Enabled by Graphene Layer

Thus, in the constant-current mode, the STM monitors wave-function overlap contours rather than the corrugation of atomic positions on the surface. The (0001) surface of graphite has been investigated using the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) over a relatively wide area containing many unit cells. We do not observe trigonal symmetry but rather find one preferred direction which remains unaffected even by extended defect areas.

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