Franz Gießibl describes achieving atomic resolution with the atomic force microscope for the first time and the introduction of Q plus sensing based on the force sensors in Swiss watches.

Franz Gießibl studied physics from 1982 to 1987 at the Technical University of Munich and at Eidgenössische Technischen Hochschule Zürich. Working with Professor Gerhard Abstreiter he received a diploma in experimental physics in 1988 and went on to study atomic force microscopy for his PhD with the Nobel Laureate Gerd Binnig at the IBM Physics Group Munich. After submitting his PhD thesis at the end of 1991, he spent 6 months as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the IBM Physics Group Munich and then moved to Silicon Valley to join Park Scientific Instruments, Inc as a senior scientist and later director of vacuum products.

Taking a planned break from research he joined the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company as a senior associate in their Munich office from 1995 to 1996. During this time, he nonetheless invented the qPlus sensor, a new probe for atomic force microscopy, and continued experimental and theoretical work on the force microscope at the chair of Professor Jochen Mannhart at University of Augsburg where he received a habilitation in 2001. He joined the faculty at the Department of Physics at the University of Regensburg in Germany in 2006 and has since collaborated with scanning tunnelling microscopy groups at IBM Almaden Research Center and IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, as well as working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to help to establish combined scanning tunnelling microscopy and atomic force microscopy for use at ultralow temperatures. He was a visiting fellow at the Center for Nanoscience and Technology (CNST) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and a visiting professor at University of Maryland, College Park from fall 2015 to spring 2016. His awards include the R&D 100 Award in 1994, the Deutscher Nanowissenschaftspreis in 2000, the Rudolf-Kaiser-Preis in 2001, the Karl Heinz Beckurts-Preis in 2009, the Joseph F. Keithley Award for Advances in Measurement Science in 2014 and the Rudolf-Jaeckel-Prize 2015.

Further reading

Atomic resolution of the silicon (111)-(7x7) surface by atomic force microscopy Giessibl F J (1995) Science 267 68-71

High-speed force sensor for force microscopy and profilometry utilizing a quartz tuning fork Giessibl F J (1998) Applied Physics Letters 76 1470-1472

Stability considerations and implementation of cantilevers allowing dynamic force microscopy with optimal resolution: The qPlus sensor Giessibl F J, Hembacher S, Herz M, Schiller Ch and Mannhart J (2004) Nanotechnology 15 S79-S86

Investigating atomic details of the CaF2(111) surface with a qPlus sensor Giessibl F J and Reichling M (2005) Nanotechnology 16 S118-S124

Subatomic resolution force microscopy reveals internal structure and adsorption sites of small iron clusters Emmrich M, Huber F, Pielmeier F, Welker J, Hofmann T, Schneiderbauer M, Meuer D, Polesya S, Mankovsky S, Ködderitzsch D, Ebert H, Giessibl F J (2015) Science 348 308-311