Increased resolution in neutral atom microscopy


P.J. Witham, Department of Physics, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon 97201, U.S.A. Tel: 001-503-725-3812; fax: 001-503-725-2815; e-mail:


The neutral atom microscope uses a beam of thermal noncharged atoms or molecules to probe an atomic surface with very low interaction energies (<70 meV). Continued optimization of the ‘pinhole’ neutral atom microscope has improved resolution to 0.35 μm. Recent images are presented demonstrating resolution and the contrast mechanisms identified so far. The future potential for sub-100 nm resolution is discussed.