Scientists At German Research Centre Develop Novel Scanning Tunnelling Microscope With Magnetic Cooling To Study Quantum Effects

Scanning tunnelling microscopes capture images of materials with atomic precision and can be used to manipulate individual molecules or atoms.

Thanks to magnetic cooling, their scanning tunnelling microscope works without any moving parts and is almost vibration-free at extremely low temperatures as low as 30 millikelvins.


it enables matter to be visualized and manipulated at the level of individual atoms and molecules in many different ways.

“Our new microscope differs from all the others in a similar way to how an electric car differs from a vehicle with a combustion engine."

Until now, researchers have relied on a kind of liquid fuel, a mixture of two helium isotopes, to bring microscopes to such low temperatures. “During operation, this cooling mixture circulates continuously through thin pipes, which leads to increased background noise,”


The cooling device of Jülich’s microscope is based on the process of adiabatic demagnetization.

It was used in the 1930s to reach temperatures below 1 kelvin in the laboratory for the first time. For the operation of microscopes, it has several advantages

  • can cool the microscope just by changing the strength of the electric current passing through an electromagnetic coil.
  • Thus, the microscope has no moving parts and is practically vibration-free


Deepstash helps you become inspired, wiser and productive, through bite-sized ideas from the best articles, books and videos out there.