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Scanning Probe Microscopy


The study of physical processes occurring at the nanometer scale or in systems with dimensions reduced to that scale has rapidly expanded during the past two decades. To a large extent this rapid evolution has been made possible and has been spurred by the invention and further development of scanning probe microscopy (SPM). Starting with the scanning tunneling microscope, a whole family of scanning probe varieties has been and is being developed, providing unprecedented access with nanometer resolution to the structural properties as well as to the nanometer scale variations of various other physical properties, including the local electrical, magnetic and mechanical behavior. In Leuven we have access to state-of-the-art SPM facilities. Tunneling and force microscopy can be applied down to liquid helium temperatures and in the presence of a magnetic field. SPM studies can be performed in ultra-high vacuum or in a controlled gas atmosphere.