Surface Science: Foundations of Catalysis and Nanoscience
Chapter 2. Experimental Probes of Surface & Adsorbate Structure:
The scanning tunnelling microscope or STM has lead to a revolution in
surface. Indeed, it has ushered in the age of nanoscience and
technology. Nonetheless this remarkable instrument is amazingly simple
and you can even find instructions in how to build your own.
However, it probably will be difficult to achieve atomic resolution on
your kitchen table.
The STM was invented by Gerd Binnig and
Heinrich Rohrer who won the Physics Nobel Prize in 1986 for this
achievement. You can learn more about Binning
by visiting the Nobel Prive Archive. They shared the Nobel Prize
Ruscka, who designed the first electron microscope. Two
important types of electron microscope are the transmission
electron microscope (TEM) and the scanning electron
microscope (SEM). I don't talk much about TEM & SEM in the book but they
are two of the most important tools for imagine on the micro- and
nano-scales. You can find a great deal of information on TEM & SEM here.
Lots of STM image galleries exist. For instance, here's one from the Technische
Here's another from RHK
And, of course, IBM
since they invented it and also scientist at IBM (Manoharan,
Lutz & Eigler)
produced one of the images that is on the cover of the textbook.
A more venerable technique of surface structure determination is low
energy electron diffraction (LEED). Clinton
J Davidson shared the 1937 Physics Nobel Prize with George
P Thomson for demonstrating that the wavelike characteristics of
the electron. Thomson was the son of late Sir J
J. Thomson, who won his Nobel Prize for showing that the electron
was a particle. Davidson and Germer are credited with discovering LEED.
Manne Georg Siegbahn won the 1924 Nobel Prize in Physics for his
discoveries and research in the field of X-ray spectroscopy. His son Kai
developed X-ray spectroscopy further to create electron spectroscopy
for chemical analysis (ESCA), which is also known as the surface
sensitive spectroscopy XPS. For this he won a share of the 1981 Nobel
Prize in Physics. Afterward he visited the University of Pittsburgh and
became the first Nobel Prize winner I ever met. It didn't make a big
impression on him but it was a big deal to me at the time.
Back to home page
Go to the
University of Virginia home page
Maintained by email@example.com
Last Modified: 12 January 2005