NFAB’s sub-miniature scanning electron microscope is a completely new concept in electron microscopy. The microscope is 5 μm long and has atomic resolution (2 Å) at 500 eV energy and 10 nA of current. The low energy means it can identify single atoms on a surface as well as being able to make holograms of large molecules.
All of the component parts can be manufactured by existing commercial technology. For example,
the electron source is a gold nanopyramid. These (right) can be routinely manufactured in nanotechnology laboratories. The microscope body is manufactured by standard MEMS techniques.
The final packaged instrument will be a microtip with the microscope on the end rather like an STM with an electron beam focussed to atomic sizes. Because the depth of field is large and the beam current is high, it will scan much more quickly than an STM, can study practical surfaces and can identify atoms directly from the elastic scattering.
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