National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network

National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network

Serving Nanoscale Science, Engineering & Technology

Scanning Probe Microscopy: "feeling" what you can't see at the nanometer scale

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Students simulate the function of a scanning probe microscope.This activity works best in groups of 3 students. Scanning Probe Microscopes (SPMs) of various types trace surface features by movement of a very fine pointed tip mounted on a flexible arm across a surface. SPM enables resolution of features down to ~1 nm in height, allowing imaging of single atoms under ideal conditions. In this activity, students will use their index finger as a probe to scan unseen objects.

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