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Hipps to offer nanoscale view

Tunnel vision. It’s not the narrow focus or limited vision you imagine, at least not in Kerry Hipps molecular world. For his purposes, tunnel means tunneling spectroscopy and microscopy, which, Hipps says, “allow us to probe the nanometer world.”

Hipps and his students examine matter at the molecular level. And the results of their research hold some exciting possibilities, especially in electronics.

Hipps, recent winner of the Distinguished Faculty Address, will give his address titled “Tunnel Vision: Imaging Molecules and Mapping Electron Flow,” at 7:30 p.m., April 23, in SCUE 203.

“During the last 10 years, interest in single-molecule phenomena, at the nanoscale, has grown,” says Hipps. “Technology strives for smaller devices, but the ‘top-down’ method — making conventional objects ever smaller — is reaching its limit. The ‘bottom-up’ method — building a designer molecule one atom at a time — offers ultimate size reduction. Nanotechnology requires tools that work on the scale of atoms,” he added.

In his address, Hipps will examine this need for new tools by introducing the concept of tunneling. He will present images of metal surfaces that show single atomic features and molecules that detail how atoms are combined to make the overall molecular structure. He will also demonstrate the pattern of electron flow through these molecules and provide examples of new materials made by nanoscale assembly.

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