Nanotechnology: Molecular Imaging

A CIPT Lab Exercise in Modern Physics


Topographic imaging at molecular level involves an indirect mapping of the surface of a material with a probe that follows the shape of the surface. In this activity, each team of students will use a simulated topographic scanner with a platform mounted laser probe to attempt to discern the structure of an unknown block of Legos built by another team. At the conclusion of this activity, students will be asked to apply the knowledge gained to develop an understanding of the atomic force microscope.

Appropriate Levels

All High School Physics.

Time Required

2-3 - 40-minute class periods.


The Atomic Force Microscope Kit is available from West Hill Biological Resources as Catalog #CNS-101 for $68.95. Additional copies of the projection screens can be ordered as Catalog #CNS-102 for $14.50 per 100.

CNS-102 - Additional Projection Screens
7.50 14.50
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Copyright for this material is held by Cornell University, the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers (CIBT), the Center for Nanoscale Systems Institute for Physics Teachers (CIPT), and or West Hill Biological Resources, Inc., 2014. This work may be copied by the original recipient from this web site to provide copies for users working under the direct supervision of the original recipient. All other redistribution of this content without the express written permission of the copyright holder(s) is prohibited.

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George Wolfe
Michael Occhino
Sean Garner
Ethan Minot