The precursor to AFM (atomic force microscope), the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) was developed by Gerd Binning and Heinrich Rohrer, in the early 1980s at IBM Research — Zurich a development which earned them Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986. However, Binning, Quate, and Gerber invented the first atomic force microscope in 1986. The commercially available atomic force microscope was introduced in 1989.

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