field ion microscope

field-ion microscope

[feeld-ahy-uhn, -ahy-on]
noun
a device in which the atomic structure of the surface of a conductor is made visible by introducing helium gas into the device and applying a high voltage to ionize and accelerate the gas toward a fluorescent screen.
Also called ion microscope.


Origin:
1950–55

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
field ion microscope  
A microscope that produces an image of a sample of molecules, or even individual atoms, on the surface of a metal tip. Gas atoms absorbed in the tip are positively ionized by an electric field, and the tip is given a strong positive electric charge, causing the ions to be repelled and thus fly away from the tip. The pattern that the ions form on a collecting surface provides an image of the sample on the tip.
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