[feeld-ahy-uh n, -ahy-on]
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.
Compare field-emission microscope.
Origin of field-ion microscope
First recorded in 1950–55
Also called ion microscope.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.