With the invention of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) by Binnig and Rohrer in 1982,

people could touch atoms on a conductive surface for the first time. Since then a family of novel microscopes based on scanning probe microscopy (SPM) has been developed for local characterization, modification and investigation of the topographic, electrical, magnetic, mechanical, thermal and optical properties of surfaces at nano and atomic scales. Details of the development of SPM techniques have appeared in many publications since 1982. SPM is a marvelous tool for touching the “nanoworld” — certainly one of the most interesting areas of study in the 21st century.