Franz Josef Giessibl

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Franz Josef Gießibl (* May 27, 1962 in Amerang) is a German physicist and university professor at the University of Regensburg.


Giessibl studied physics from 1982 to 1987 at the Technical University of Munich and at Eidgenössische Technischen Hochschule Zürich. He received a diploma in experimental physics in 1988 with Professor Gerhard Abstreiter and continued with a PhD in physics with Nobel Laureate Gerd Binnig at the IBM Physics Group Munich on atomic force microscopy. After submitting his PhD thesis in the end of 1991, he continued for 6 months as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the IBM Physics Group Munich and moved to Silicon Valley to join Park Scientific Instruments, Inc as a senior scientist and later director of vacuum products from mid 1992 until the end of 1994. He joined the Munich office of management consulting firm McKinsey & Company from 1995 to 1996 as a senior associate. During that time, he 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.

In 2006, he joined the faculty at the Department of Physics at the University of Regensburg in Germany.[1] From about 2005, he collaborated with the scanning tunneling microscopy groups of IBM Almaden Research Center and IBM Zurich Research Laboratory and from about 2010 with National Institute of Standards and Technology to help to establish combined scanning tunneling microscopy and atomic force microscopy 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.

Franz Giessibl is married and has two sons.


Some of Giessibl's experimental images were the basis for the offset print editions Erster Blick (2000) and Graphit (2004) by visual artist Gerhard Richter.[2] Since 1990, Giessibl completed marathon races in Berlin,[3] Munich, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Florence with a personal best of about 3h 5min in 1992 in Munich. He enjoys reading a good book, running, biking, hiking, swimming, flying single engine planes and riding motorcycles.

Scientific contributions[edit]

Giessibl spent most of his professional career improving atomic force microscopy,[4][5][6][7][8] and published papers on ground breaking experiments,[9][10] instrumentation[11] and theoretical foundations[12][13] of atomic force microscopy. Giessibl is the inventor of the qPlus sensor,[14][15] a sensor for Non-contact atomic force microscopy that relies on a quartz cantilever. His invention has enabled atomic force microscopy to obtain subatomic spatial resolution on individual atoms and submolecular resolution on organic molecules. Today, the qPlus sensor is used in many commercial and homebuilt atomic force microscopes.

  • 1992: Built the first low-temperature force microscope for ultrahigh vacuum with Gerd Binnig (PhD adviser) and Christoph Gerber (JVST 1991) and obtained atomic resolution on KBr with it (Ultramicroscopy 1992). KBr has a very low reactivity, yet major challenges such as jump-to-contact of AFM tip and sample had to be overcome to obtain atomic resolution.
  • 1992: Proposed a mechanism allowing atomic resolution in noncontact-AFM (Phys Rev B 1992).
  • 1994: Solved the problem of imaging reactive samples and obtained for the first time atomic resolution on Silicon 7x7 by force microscopy using frequency-modulation atomic force microscopy in noncontact mode with large amplitudes (Science 1995).
  • 1996: Invented the qPlus sensor, a self sensing AFM quartz sensor that is self sensing (piezoelectric effect), highly stable in frequency and stiff enough to allow sub-Angstrom oscillation amplitudes (patents DE19633546, US6240771).
  • 1997: Introduces a formula that connects frequency shifts and forces for large amplitudes (Phys Rev B 1997).
  • 2000: Observes subatomic resolution on tip features (Science 2000).
  • 2001: Invents an algorithm to deconvolute forces from frequency shifts (Appl Phys Lett 2001).
  • 2003: Extended version of his habilitation thesis is published in Reviews of Modern Physics (RMP 2003).
  • 2003: Obtaines atomically resolved lateral force microscopy (PNAS 2003).
  • 2004: Achieves sub-Angstrom resolution on tip features using a qPlus sensor in a low temperature AFM using higher harmonic force microscopy (Science 2004).
  • 2005-2008: Helps to spread out qPlus sensor technology to IBM Research Laboratories Almaden and Rüschlikon, leading to measurements of forces that act during atomic manipulation (Science 2008) and single-electron charges on single gold atoms (Science 2009).
  • 2012: Introduces carbon monoxide front atom identification (COFI), a method for the atomic and subatomic characterization of scanning probe tips (Science 2012).
  • 2013: Observes evidence for superexchange interaction and very low noise data of exchange interactions between CoSm tips and antiferromagnetic NiO (Phys Rev Lett 2013).
  • 2013: Observes atomic resolution in ambient conditions without special sample preparation (Phys Rev B 2013).
  • 2014: Measurement of CO-CO interactions by lateral force microscopy (Science 2014).
  • 2015: Atomic resolution of few atom metal clusters and subatomic resolution of single metal atoms (Science 2015).
  • 2016: Simultaneous inelastic tunneling spectroscopy and AFM (Phys Rev B 2016), first AFM with superconducting tips (Phys Rev B 2016), multifrequency AFM using qPlus sensor (Appl Phys Lett 2016)

Selected publications[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 1994: R&D 100 Award (together with Brian Trafas)[16]
  • 2000: Deutscher Nanowissenschaftspreis[17]
  • 2001: Rudolf-Kaiser-Preis[18]
  • 2009: Karl Heinz Beckurts-Preis[19]
  • 2010: Ehrenfest Kolloquium Leiden (Netherlands)[20]
  • 2013: Zernike Kolloquium Groningen (Netherlands)[21]
  • 2014: Joseph F. Keithley Award for Advances in Measurement Science of the American Physical Society[22]
  • 2015: Rudolf-Jaeckel Prize of the German Vacuum Society[23]
  • 2016: Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology [24]

Presentations (selection)[edit]

Interviews (selection)[edit]


  1. ^ Website Franz Josef Gießibl (Uni Regensburg)
  2. ^ Nielsen, K. H. (2008). "Nanotech, Blur and Tragedy in Recent Artworks by Gerhard Richter". Leonardo. 41 (5): 484. doi:10.1162/leon.2008.41.5.484. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ SPIEGEL ONLINE - Wissenschaft - 27. Juli 2000: Nanophysik: Atome unterm Mikroskop
  5. ^ DIE WELT: 24. Januar 2003: Nanophysiker Franz Giessibl hantiert mit Apfelsinen
  6. ^ The New York Times - 22. Februar 2008: Scientists Measure What It Takes to Push a Single Atom
  7. ^ Physical Review Letters comments about 35 years of scanning tunneling microscopy and 30 years of atomic force microscopy
  8. ^ Nature Nanotechnology's Anniversary issues of March and April 2016 mark the anniversary of a number of key discoveries in the history of nanotechnology.
  9. ^ Giessibl, F. J. (1995). "Atomic resolution of the Silicon (111)-(7x7) surface by atomic force microscopy". Science. 267 (5194): 68–71. Bibcode:1995Sci...267...68G. doi:10.1126/science.267.5194.68. 
  10. ^ Giessibl, F. J.; Hembacher, S.; Bielefeldt, H.; Mannhart, J. (2000). "Subatomic features on the Silicon (111)-(7x7) surface observed by atomic force microscopy". Science. 289 (5478): 422–425. Bibcode:2000Sci...289..422G. doi:10.1126/science.289.5478.422. 
  11. ^ Giessibl, F. J.; Pielmeier, F.; Eguchi, T.; An, T.; Hasegawa, Y. (2011). "Comparison of force sensors for atomic force microscopy based on quartz tuning forks and length-extensional resonators.". Phys. Rev. B. 84: 125409. arXiv:1104.2987Freely accessible. Bibcode:2011PhRvB..84l5409G. doi:10.1103/physrevb.84.125409. 
  12. ^ Giessibl, F. J. (1997). "Forces and frequency shifts in atomic-resolution dynamic-force microscopy". Phys. Rev. B. 56: 16010–16015. Bibcode:1997PhRvB..5616010G. doi:10.1103/physrevb.56.16010. 
  13. ^ Giessibl, F. J. (2003). "Advances in atomic force microscopy". Reviews of Modern Physics. 75 (3): 949–983. arXiv:cond-mat/0305119Freely accessible. Bibcode:2003RvMP...75..949G. doi:10.1103/revmodphys.75.949. 
  14. ^ F. J. Giessibl: Device for noncontact intermittent contact scanning of a surface and a process therefore. US Patent 6240771
  15. ^ F. J. Giessibl: Sensor for noncontact profiling of a surface. US Patent 8393009
  16. ^ R&D 100 Award 1994 of R&D Magazine
  17. ^ German Nanoscience Prize
  18. ^
  19. ^ Homepage Beckurts-Preis
  20. ^ Colloquium Ehrenfestii
  21. ^ Zernike Kolloquium
  22. ^ Joseph F. Keithley Award for Advances in Measurement Science
  23. ^ Kopnarski, Michael (2015). "Rudolf Jaeckel-Preis 2015 an Prof. Dr. Franz J. Gießibl". Vakuum in Forschung und Praxis. 27: 38. doi:10.1002/vipr.201590050. 
  24. ^ 2016 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize

External links[edit]