scanning tunneling microscope
- An electron microscope which has a minute probe which scans the surface of a sample at an atomic level. The extremely sharp tip, from which a single atom projects, is brought sufficiently close to the surface so as to create a tunneling current. The rapid change in tunneling current as a function of distance enables the atomic resolution. In addition, the scanning produces a three-dimensional view on a film or display screen. Its abbreviation is STM.