scanning tunneling microscope

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scanning tunneling microscope

n.
A microscope that scans the surface of a sample with a beam of electrons, causing a narrow channel of tunneling electrons to flow between the sample and the beam, and producing three-dimensional images of atomic topography and structure.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

scan′ning tun′neling mi`croscope


n.
an electronic microscope that produces images of atomic structures by moving an extremely fine probe over the surface of a material.
Abbr: STM
[1980–85]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

scanning tunneling microscope

A microscope used to make images of individual atoms on the surface of a material. The microscope has a probe ending in a tiny sharp tip that moves along the material's surface while emitting a stream of electrons. The flow of electrons is constant so long as the distance between the tip and the material's surface atoms is held constant. An image is formed based on the continual adjustments made to the height of the tip to keep the electron flow constant over the "bumps" that are the atoms.
The American Heritage® Student Science Dictionary, Second Edition. Copyright © 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.