The winner of the 2012 Feynman Prize for Experiment is the team of Gerhard Meyer, Leo Gross, and Jascha Repp for their work at IBM Research in Zurich. The award recognizes their remarkable experiments advancing the frontiers of scanning probe microscopy. They were the first to to produce images of molecular orbitals and charges detailed enough to identify the structure of individual molecules, as well as metal-molecule complexes. They have also been able to precisely make and break individual chemical bonds. These developments provide crucial insights and tools for the design of future molecular systems.
In awarding the prizes, Ralph C. Merkle, Chairman of the Prize Committee, noted that "The work of these Feynman Prize winners has brought us one step closer to answering Feynman's 1959 question, 'What would happen if we could arrange atoms one by one the way we want them?' And the ability to simulate and manipulate atoms advanced by the work of these Prize winners will enable us to design and build engineered molecular machinery with atomic precision. It will take us another step on the way to the development of revolutionary nanotechnologies that will transform our lives for the better."
The winners are involved in the FET project ARTIST (Alternative Routes Towards Information Storage and Transport at the atomic and molecular scale).