Atomic and Molecular Manipulation with the Scanning Tunneling Microscope

Science  29 Nov 1991:
Vol. 254, Issue 5036, pp. 1319-1326
DOI: 10.1126/science.254.5036.1319


The prospect of manipulating matter on the atomic scale has fascinated scientists for decades. This fascination may be motivated by scientific and technological opportunities, or from a curiosity about the consequences of being able to place atoms in a particular location. Advances in scanning tunneling microscopy have made this prospect a reality; single atoms can be placed at selected positions and structures can be built to a particular design atom-by-atom. Atoms and molecules may be manipulated in a variety of ways by using the interactions present in the tunnel junction of a scanning tunneling microscope. Some of these recent developments and some of the possible uses of atomic and molecular manipulation as a tool for science are discussed.