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Answered 2015-07-16 19:17:49

It depends on the power of the microscope an the skill you have in preparing slides.

Around 150x, good slide prepartion becomes crucial.

a quick search on Google reveals many guides to building your own Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM). If you do attempt such a feat the following books might be helpful;

  1. Lewis et al. "Student Scanning Tunneling Microscope" Am. J. Phys, 59(1), 38-42. (1991)
  2. Pohl, "Some Design Criteria in Scanning Tunneling Microscopy", IBM J. Res. Dev., 30(4), 417-427, (1986)
  3. Binning & Rohrer, "Scanning Tunneling Microscopy" IBM J. Res. Dev., 30(4), 355-369, (1986)
  4. Binning & Smith, "Single-Tube Three-Dimensional Scanner for Scanning Tunneling Microscopy", Rev. Sci. Instrum. 57(8), 1688-1689, (1986)
  5. Sears et al., "A Scanning Tunneling Microscope for Undergraduate Laboratories", Computers in Physics Jul/Aug, 427-430, (1990)

I believe that a home made STM can be made for about $100 and should provide atomic resolution.

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