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published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
supported by the International Business Machines
This lesson suggests a physical model to explore how scanning probe microscopes work to "see" nanoscale samples and translate the data into a 3D image. The lesson opens with background information about scanning probe and atomic force microscopes. Next, blindfolds are applied and learners use only the tip of a pencil to explore and identify the shape of objects they cannot see, just as the SPM does at the nano level. The driving question of the lesson: How do scientists measure the surface of objects that are too small to see?

This lesson follows a module format that includes student guides, recommended reading, illustrated procedures, worksheets, and background information about the engineering connections. This collection is part of TryEngineering.org, a website maintained by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

See Related Materials for links to high-quality animated tutorials of scanning probe microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Modeling
General Physics
- Equipment
= Electronic Equipment
Modern Physics
- Atomic Physics
= Atomic Models
- Nanoscience
- High School
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Laboratory
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
= Problem/Problem Set
= Student Guide
- Audio/Visual
= Illustration
= Photograph
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- Learners
- text/html
- application/ms-word
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Safety Warnings
Minimal Danger   No Safety Equipment Necessary  


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© 2012 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Keywords:
AFM model, SPM model, applied physics, engineering activity, engineering lessons, microscopy, microscopy model, nanoscale microscopy, nanoscale science, probe microscopes, probing microscopes
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created July 26, 2012 by Gnana Subramaniam
Record Updated:
February 12, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
July 26, 2012
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

3. The Nature of Technology

3A. Technology and Science
  • 6-8: 3A/M2. Technology is essential to science for such purposes as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection and treatment, measurement, data collection and storage, computation, and communication of information.

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 6-8: 4D/M1a. All matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.
  • 9-12: 4D/H8. The configuration of atoms in a molecule determines the molecule's properties. Shapes are particularly important in how large molecules interact with others.

8. The Designed World

8B. Materials and Manufacturing
  • 9-12: 8B/H4. Increased knowledge of the properties of particular molecular structures helps in the design and synthesis of new materials for special purposes.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
  • 9-12: 11B/H5. The behavior of a physical model cannot ever be expected to represent the full-scale phenomenon with complete accuracy, not even in the limited set of characteristics being studied. The inappropriateness of a model may be related to differences between the model and what is being modeled.
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Record Link
AIP Format
(Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2012), WWW Document, (http://www.tryengineering.org/lesson_detail.php?lesson=97).
AJP/PRST-PER
TryEngineering: Be A Scanning Probe Microscope , (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2012), <http://www.tryengineering.org/lesson_detail.php?lesson=97>.
APA Format
TryEngineering: Be A Scanning Probe Microscope . (2012, July 26). Retrieved November 23, 2014, from Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: http://www.tryengineering.org/lesson_detail.php?lesson=97
Chicago Format
International Business Machines. TryEngineering: Be A Scanning Probe Microscope . Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, July 26, 2012. http://www.tryengineering.org/lesson_detail.php?lesson=97 (accessed 23 November 2014).
MLA Format
TryEngineering: Be A Scanning Probe Microscope . Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2012. 26 July 2012. International Business Machines. 23 Nov. 2014 <http://www.tryengineering.org/lesson_detail.php?lesson=97>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {TryEngineering: Be A Scanning Probe Microscope }, Publisher = {Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {23 November 2014}, Month = {July 26, 2012}, Year = {2012} }
Refer Export Format

%T TryEngineering: Be A Scanning Probe Microscope
%D July 26, 2012
%I Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
%U http://www.tryengineering.org/lesson_detail.php?lesson=97
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D July 26, 2012
%T TryEngineering: Be A Scanning Probe Microscope
%I Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
%V 2014
%N 23 November 2014
%8 July 26, 2012
%9 text/html
%U http://www.tryengineering.org/lesson_detail.php?lesson=97


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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

TryEngineering: Be A Scanning Probe Microscope :

Is Supplemented By Virtual Microscope: Scanning Probe Microscopy Basics

An animated tutorial that describes how scanning probe microscopes work to "read" the surface of nanoscale samples and provide image data.

relation by Caroline Hall
Is Supplemented By Virtual Microscope: Scanning Electron Microscopy Basics

An animated tutorial on the structure and function of a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Appropriate for high school and undergraduate education.

relation by Caroline Hall

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