image credit: Brian Swartzentruber, Sandia National Laboratories; (image not available on web); larger image
STM at Sljus
The bright spots in this scanning tunneling microscope (STM) image are silicon atoms. They are sitting on top of a silicon crystal, which includes some gold atoms that have displaced silicon atoms.
-- Silicon atoms have formed a thin layer at the upper right, and have assumed the structure of the underlying crystal (note the ordered arrangement). Also, excess silicon atoms have accumulated at the steps of the crystal.
--To see a different STM image of the steps in a silicon crystal, and for more on the STM itself, visit STM at Sljus.
This feature was updated on 3/17/09.
Physics in Action: Seeing Atoms
Visit Physics in Action: Seeing Atoms to find out why we can't see atoms with light, and how the scanning tunneling microscope works. Also, don't miss the images in IBM's STM Gallery.