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http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22545-dna-imaged-with-electron-microscope-for-the-first-time.html.

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GERD BINNIG (GERMANY b.1947) & HEINRICH ROHRER

1980 – Switzerland

‘Scanning Electron Microscope’

SEM image of Caffeine crystals. Credit: Annie Cavanagh. Wellcome ImagesSEM image of Diatom frustule.SEM image of Moth Fly

If a needle charged with electricity is placed extremely close to the surface of a metal or semi-conductor a miniscule but measurable electric current, known as a ‘tunneling current’ will leap the gap. This current is extraordinarily sensitive to the width of the gap. The size of the tunneling current therefore reveals the distance between the needle tip and the surface.

Photograph of Gerd Binnig - worked on the scanning-tunneling electron microscope ©

GERD BINNIG

Photograph of Heinrich Rohrer - worked on the scanning-tunneling electron microscope ©

HEINRICH ROHRER

picture of the Nobel medal - link to nobelprize.org

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Related sites

scanning electron microscope (serc.carleton.edu/)
how-sem-works (nanoscience.com/)
high voltage electron microscopy (esi.nagoya-u.ac.jp)(2013)