Standard Guide to Scanner and Tip Related Artifacts in Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy
4.1 This compilation is limited to artifacts observed in scanning tunneling microscopes and contact-mode atomic force microscopes. In particular, this document focuses on artifacts related to probe motion and geometrical considerations of the tip and surface interaction. Many of the artifacts described here extend to other scanned probe microscopies where piezoscanners are used as positioning elements or where tips of similar geometries are used. These are not the only artifacts associated with measurements obtained by STM or AFM. Artifacts can also arise from the following: control electronics (for example, improper feedback gains); noise (mechanical, acoustic, or electronic); drift (thermal or mechanical); problems unique to signal detection methods (for example, laser spillover in optical lever schemes); improper use of image processing (real time or post processed); sample preparation, environment (for example, humidity) and tip-surface interaction (for example, excessive electrostatic, adhesive, shear, and compressive forces). It is suggested that these other types of artifacts form the basis of future ASTM guides.
1.1 All microscopes are subject to artifacts. The purpose of this document is to provide a description of commonly observed artifacts in scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) relating to probe motion and geometric considerations of the tip and surface interaction, provide literature references of examples and, where possible, to offer an interpretation as to the source of the artifact. Because the scanned probe microscopy field is a burgeoning one, this document is not meant to be comprehensive but rather to serve as a guide to practicing microscopists as to possible pitfalls one may expect. The ability to recognize artifacts should assist in reliable evaluation of instrument operation and in reporting of data.
1.2 A limited set of terms will be defined here. A full description of terminology relating to the description, operation, and calibration of STM and AFM instruments is beyond the scope of this document.
1.3 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.
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