Professor Jiang Ying and co-authors publish a Nature Reviews article on scanning probe microscopy

MAY . 27 2021
Peking University, May 27, 2021: Recently, Professor Jiang Ying from International Center for Quantum Materials and Research Center for Light-Element Advanced Materials of Peking University was invited by Nature Reviews Methods Primers to write a review article titled “Scanning probe microscopy” (Nature Reviews Methods Primers 1, 36 (2021)). The article was written in collaboration with Professor Christoph Gerber from University of Basel, Professor Andreas Heinrich from Center for Quantum Nanoscience of Institute for Basic Science, Professor Daniel Müller from Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich and Professor Simon Scheuring from Weill Cornell Medical College. Meanwhile, the editor also wrote a PrimeView (Nature Reviews Methods Primers 1, 35 (2021)) accompanied with this article. 

Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) is one of the greatest inventions in nanoscience. It uses a sharp tip to physically scan over the surface of sample point-by-point, and obtains both topography and physical/chemical properties with atomic or nanoscale resolution. In this review article, Professor Jiang and his co-authors introduced the key aspects and general features of SPM and different variations, with particular focus on scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM, Nobel Prize in 1986) and atomic force microscopy (AFM, Kavli Prize in 2016). They outlined how to conduct SPM experiments, as well as data analysis of SPM imaging, spectroscopy and manipulation. Recent applications of SPM to physics, chemistry, materials science and biology were then highlighted with representative examples. The issues with reproducibility and standards on open data were discussed. This Primer also raised awareness of the ongoing challenges and possible ways to overcome these difficulties, followed by an outlook of future possible directions.

Figure: A. The schematics of STM and AFM. B. Inducing single-molecule chemical reaction by the scanning tip. C. The electron spin resonance (ESR) STM spectra of single Ti atoms. D. Investigation of the diffusion and binding of virus on cell membranes by force spectroscopy. E. Vibrational spectra of a single water molecule obtained by STM. F. AFM imaging of the outer membrane proteins. G. Atomically resolved AFM images of single Na+ hydrates.

Nature Reviews Methods Primers 
was launched in January 2021, and is aimed at a broad, interdisciplinary audience of researchers at all career stages, providing them with the information to evaluate and apply methods to conduct their research, with a strong focus on enhancing interdisciplinary collaboration and providing guidance, from experts, on reproducibility and open science. The primers are introductory overviews of methods and techniques, including best practices for experimentation, analysis and applications. These overview articles will provide all the relevant information needed to evaluate, adopt and build on methods.

Edited by: Huang Weijian

Source: International Center for Quantum Materials, Peking University

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