scanning tunneling microscope


: a microscope that makes use of the phenomenon of tunneling electrons to map the positions of individual atoms in a surface or to move atoms around on a surface
scanning tunneling microscopy noun

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Heinrich used a scanning tunneling microscope to align the iron atoms so each one takes on a magnetic polarity opposite that of its neighbor. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, 10 Dec. 2012 The revolution began quietly in 1981, when Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer at IBM in Zurich invented the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), which could read a surface atom by atom. Andrew Grant, Discover Magazine, 22 Sep. 2010 By moving the needle of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) across a surface and monitoring the electric current that flows through it, scientists can map a surface to the level of single atoms. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 20 Oct. 2022 Each car was propelled by a gentle electric pulse generated at the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM). Dhananjay Khadilkar, Ars Technica, 20 Apr. 2022 The cars will be powered by electron pulses from a scanning tunneling microscope. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, 31 Mar. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scanning tunneling microscope.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1983, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of scanning tunneling microscope was in 1983

Dictionary Entries Near scanning tunneling microscope

Cite this Entry

“Scanning tunneling microscope.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

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