Roland Piquepaille writes "Probably not many of you have used a scanning tunneling microscope (STM), the essential tool of nanoscience. And you might think that it's as easy to take a picture of an atom with an STM as it is to take a shot with your digital camera. In fact, the imaging of individual atoms with an STM is quite slow. Now researchers at Cornell University have shown how to accelerate this process — by adding a radio transmitter, they are able to speed up atomic-level microscopy by a factor of at least 100. A typical STM currently has a sampling rate of about one KHz. This new radio-frequency STM can operate a thousand times faster."