In the last 10 years, surface science has been revolutionised by imaging techniques such as scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). It is often said that the field of nano-technology was born with the invention of the STM in the early 1980s. This project is centered around the development of a completely new imaging technique which could have a similar groundbreaking impact on the investigation of materials on the nano-scale. We propose to develop a scanning helium atom microscope, where a focused beam of low energy, neutral helium atoms is used as an imaging probe - the INA technique. Members of this consortium have pioneered this field and a first version of the instrument has already been built. The main objective of this project is to increase the resolution of the microscope by two orders of magnitude, from the present 1.5 micron to 20 nanometers. Finally the microscope will be exploited in a series of topographical measurements of ultra-smooth glass surfaces. The experiments will give insight in the mechanisms behind the formation of melt-glass surfaces and serve to relate the medium and short range surface structure to the preparation methods and composition of the glass.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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