The simple shrinking of electronic devices works for now, but the geometric dimensions have already reached the nanometer scale and further reduction in size will meet the limit of every solid state device, the atoms. If the number of atoms within a single device is finite the question if it works or not can be determined by a single atom. The fascination of Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) and its related techniques is built on its unique possibility to map electronic properties of an individual defect with atomic resolution. This technique has been developed by Gert Binnig und Heinrich Rohrer in the early 80's and they got the Nobelprice for Physics only 6 years after their discovery in 1986.
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