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

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. japroach says:

    wow, I dont quite understand what is going on but that is amazing.

  2. japroach says:

    wow, I dont quite understand what is going on but that is amazing.

  3. dbowden says:

    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.

  4. dbowden says:

    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.

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