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Scanning Tunneling Microscope

Image of the surface of Graphite, obtained with the scanning tunneling microscope owned by the Physics Department at Northeastern. Image obtained by Devin Chatterji.

The scanning tunneling microscope shows variations in the surface of a material down to the size of atoms. In this image, the white and light orange areas are areas where atoms are located right at the surface. You are looking at a very small region--the scale is in nanometers. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter (about one-millionth of the size of the dot at the bottom of this exclamation point!). The white regions are about a tenth of a nanometer in size, roughly the size of a carbon atom.

This image shows the structure of graphite, which has carbon atoms arranged in hexagonal patterns. To show the haxagonal pattern, move the pointer over the picture.

- NEIU: Physics: STM -