Atom-technology and beyond: manipulating matter using scanning probes
The state of the art in scanning probe microscopy (SPM) has moved beyond ‘just’ the imaging and manipulation of single atoms and molecules to encompass an exciting variety of what might perhaps best be termed ‘next generation’ experiments. These include sub-atomic resolution imaging, the mapping of molecular force-fields with ∼100pm spatial resolution, the control of two dimensional electron systems with exquisite levels of finesse, and the fabrication of single atom devices contacted to the macroscopic world. Developments such as these, and many others spanning the last eighteen months or so of SPM research, are reviewed here. They represent the emergence of the field of picoscience, as SPM techniques and technology evolve towards routine measurement and control of matter on sub-Angstrom length-scales.