Session H2: Poster Session (3:30 - 5:15 PM)

3:30 PM–3:30 PM, Friday, November 13, 2009
IMU Room: 243 (Ballroom)

Abstract ID: BAPS.2009.PSF.H2.29

Abstract: H2.00029 : Construction of an Inexpensive Scanning Tunneling Microscope for Undergraduate Laboratories

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  Paul Garcia
    (Doane College)

  Justin Nitz
    (University of Nebraska - Lincoln)

  Mark Plano Clark
    (Doane College)

  Axel Enders
    (University of Nebraska - Lincoln)

Our goal is to produce an inexpensive, room-temperature, atmospheric-pressure scanning tunneling microscope (STM) with atomic resolution. Our prototype uses slip-stick motion for coarse approach to the surface to be imaged. Motion of the tip is accomplished with four flat piezoelectric translators that provide both z-motion (slip-stick and feedback control) as well as the x-y scanning motion. Maximum x-y scan range is estimated and measured to be approximately 1.7 $\mu $m x 1.7 $\mu $m and the fine z-motion range is estimated to be about 570 nm. Control of the x-y motion is done with a microcontroller containing two 16-bit DACs (digital to analog converter). The z-motion is driven by an analog loop that amplifies the tunneling current and then drives the inner electrode of the piezo translators. The cost of our prototype is currently under {\$}300 and we hope to keep it very affordable for high school and college teaching laboratories.

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