Scanning Tunneling Microscope



What does LT-STM/AFM stand for?
LT-STM is the abbreviation of low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope. And AFM stands for atomic force microscope.

What does that exactly mean?
STM (scanning tunneling microscopy) is an instrument for imaging surfaces at atomic level. It all started in 1981 with its inventors, Gerd Binning and Heinrich Rohrer, at IBM Zurich. Later in 1986, they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of STM. A STM uses its good resolution (latera: 0.1 nm /depth: 0.01 nm) to routinely image and manipulate individual atoms within material. The STM technique can be used in UHV (ultra-high vacuum), air, water and other liquid or gas ambient at temperature ranges between near zero Kelvin to a few hundred degrees Celsius.
AFM is a type of scanning probe microscopy (SPM) with very high resolution. The AFM can demonstrate a resolution on the order of fractions of a nanometer, which is more than 1000 times better than the optical diffraction limit.

Why is LT-STM/AFM used for research?
With STM researchers can examine many characteristics of a three dimensional profile surface, including roughness, surface defects and determining things about the molecules such as size and conformation.

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Where does this process take place?
Our LT-STM/AFM system works under UHV (ultra-high vacuum) conditions. A UHV environment is characterized by pressures lower than 10-8 – 10-12 mbar that allows the films to growth with the highest achievable purity. A UHV environment is very important to scientific research, because experiments often require a chemically clean sample surface with the absence of any unwanted adsorbates.

What does CreaTec manufacture?
CreaTec designs and produces low temperature - scanning tunneling microscopes and atomic force microscopes. The LT-STM is an essential part of the CreaTec product range. In addition to its nanoanalytical capabilities, it allows the precise manipulation of atoms and molecules at temperatures from 4 to 300 K.  Our fully compatible low-temperature atomic force microscope (AFM) was introduced in 2007 allowing simultaneous measurements of force and tunneling current without cross-talk. AFM uses constant frequency or constant height control.  

Is that all?
No. We also offer combined MBE and LT-STM systems.