Calvin Quate has won the 2016 Kavli Nanoscience Prize

June 2016

Professor emeritus Calvin Quate has won the 2016 Kavli Nanoscience Prize, along with Gerd Binnig, former member of IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, and Christoph Gerber, of the University of Basel, for the invention of atomic force microscopy.

Throughout his career, Quate invented transformational imaging and sensing technologies that continue to be used in research labs around the world, and even on the surface of Mars. Along with Ross Lemons, he developed the scanning acoustic microscope in the early 1970s. The atomic force microscope (AFM) came in 1986, after working with Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber, who share the Kavli Prize with Quate.

The atomic force microscope uses a stylus with a small tip – less than 30 nanometers wide – to move across the surface of an object, bobbing up and down as it passes over the topography of the surface. When the stylus tip crosses a change in the surface, force passes from the stylus to an attached cantilever, which flexes. Instruments record the cantilever's flexing to create an image accurate to the atomic level.

An example of the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) is on display in the atrium of the Packard Building. 

 The Kavli Prize is a partnership among The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Kavli Foundation and The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. Winners of each prize will receive a gold medal and share $1 million (U.S.), given during an awards ceremony in Oslo.

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