The nanophysics lab uses innovative experimental
techniques to examine the physical properties of objects in
the nanoscale size range, that is, a bit larger than the size
of individual atoms. Some interesting physical properties that
we measure include the electronic conductivity of small numbers
of atoms and molecules, the forces arising between nanoscale
objects, and the transition between the quantum behavior exhibited
by a few atoms and the bulk properties of a large number of
Our lab focuses primarily on scanning probe techniques. Our
first scanning probe microscope was built in 1986. Since then,
we have built a number of scanning tunneling and scanning force
microscopes. These instruments are the eyes that allow the study
of nanometer-scale objects.
Because we had working scanning probe instruments well before
they were commercially available, we have learned to interact
with other groups across campus to solve interesting problems.
On any given day, we have graduate students from Physics, Chemistry,
Electrical Engineering, Biology, Mechanical Engineering or Chemical
Engineering that make use of the unique instruments and accumulated
expertise that exists in our lab.