Science Technology
HOW TO – Build a simple scanning tunneling microscope (STM).

Stm Controler
Plans for building a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) for under $100 – “The goal of this project is to build a simple STM that can resolve atoms, with a cost of materials less than $100.00 excluding oscilloscope. My real goal here is to provide a base of information so experimenters and students could build a simple STM. Typical piezo tubes used in tube scanners of commercial scanning probe microscopes cost in the range of $200 – $800 and operate with several hundred volts applied to the scanner. This design uses a unimorph disk scanner to reduce the cost and avoid using any high voltage. The Piezo element is commonly available and this particular one costs $1.80. The control voltages are so low that two 9-volt batteries can power the control electronics.”Link.

8 thoughts on “HOW TO – Build a simple scanning tunneling microscope (STM).

  1. Yeah, the site is short on background information. Without actually knowing anything about STM theory/design, what I picked up from the design notes on the site was that he modified a piezo speaker unit to give it 4 poles. He can independantly control each pole into a +- X and +- Y orientation, and by moving all at once, he gets +- Z orientation. I believe the basic idea is to mount a very fine pointed wire to the piezo, orient it very close to the material you’re trying to observe, and you’ll be able to read surface features by observing where in +-XYZ the tip makes contact with the surface. Presumably you use it much as a TV reconstructs an image – scan all of X for one Y, then increment Y and repeat. I’ll have to read up on STM techniques, but it looks like it should work.

  2. Yeah, the site is short on background information. Without actually knowing anything about STM theory/design, what I picked up from the design notes on the site was that he modified a piezo speaker unit to give it 4 poles. He can independantly control each pole into a +- X and +- Y orientation, and by moving all at once, he gets +- Z orientation. I believe the basic idea is to mount a very fine pointed wire to the piezo, orient it very close to the material you’re trying to observe, and you’ll be able to read surface features by observing where in +-XYZ the tip makes contact with the surface. Presumably you use it much as a TV reconstructs an image – scan all of X for one Y, then increment Y and repeat. I’ll have to read up on STM techniques, but it looks like it should work.

Comments are closed.

Tagged

current: @adafruit - previous: MAKE, popular science, hackaday, engadget, fallon, braincraft ... howtoons, 2600...

View more articles by Phillip Torrone