The studentSTM Project

Welcome to the studentSTM project page hosted by Walla Walla University. This project was developed and is maintained by Dr. Tom Ekkens. If you have comments or suggestions please send email to


Walla Walla University first offered a class in Nanotechnology in 2008 for senior physics and engineering majors. In that first class, Dr. Ekkens had the students build a very simple Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) as the major project for the lab. The build process was very complicated and the resolution was terrible, but the students loved the project. Each year since then, Dr. Ekkens has refined the lab by making the build process easier and the operation better. By 2014, the design was ready to share and an article was submitted to The Physics Teacher and printed in the December 2015 issue. This page complements that article and adds new improvements to the original design.