Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Invited Article: Autonomous Assembly of Atomically Perfect Nanostructures Using a Scanning Tunneling Microscope



Joseph A. Stroscio, Robert Celotta, Stephen B. Balakirsky, Aaron P. Fein, Frank M. Hess, Gregory Rutter


A major goal of nanotechnology is to develop the capability to arrange matter at will by placing individual atoms at desired locations in a predetermined configuration to build a nanostructure with specific properties or function. The scanning tunneling microscopic has demonstrated the ability to arrange the basic building blocks of matter, single atoms, in two-dimensional configurations. An array of various nanostructures have been assembled that display the quantum mechanics of quantum confined geometries. The level of human interaction needed to physically locate the atom and bring it to the desired location limits this atom assembly technology. The advance that we describe in this article is the use of autonomous atom assembly via path planning technology; this allows atomically perfect nanostructures to be assembled without the need for human intervention to place each atom, resulting in precise constructions in shorter times. We demonstrate autonomous assembly by assembling various quantum confining geometries of atoms and molecules and describe the benefits of this approach.
Review of Scientific Instruments


Autonomous assembly, scanning tunneling microscope, atom manipulation, nanostructures


Stroscio, J. , Celotta, R. , Balakirsky, S. , Fein, A. , Hess, F. and Rutter, G. (2014), Invited Article: Autonomous Assembly of Atomically Perfect Nanostructures Using a Scanning Tunneling Microscope, Review of Scientific Instruments, [online], (Accessed April 21, 2024)
Created December 1, 2014, Updated November 10, 2018