Since its invention in the 1980s, scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) has opened up a new world of possibilities by enabling researchers to image on the atomic scale. In this latest video for our 100 Second Science series, Peter Wahl from the University of St Andrews in the UK explains the basic principles of STM and explains why its invention has been so revolutionary. He explains how these microscopes overcome the resolution limitations of optical microscopy thanks to the phenomenon of quantum tunnelling.

If you enjoyed this video explainer, then check out more from our 100 Second Science series.