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Advanced Structural and Chemical Imaging

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Scanning tunneling microscopy, Scanning probe microscopy, Crystallography


Crystallographic image processing (CIP) techniques may be utilized in scanning probe microscopy (SPM) to glean information that has been obscured by signals from multiple probe tips. This may be of particular importance for scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and requires images from samples that are periodic in two dimensions (2D). The image-forming current for double-tips in STM is derived with a slight modification of the independent-orbital approximation (IOA) to allow for two or more tips. Our analysis clarifies why crystallographic averaging works well in removing the effects of a blunt STM tip (that consists of multiple mini-tips) from recorded 2D periodic images and also outlines the limitations of this image-processing technique for certain spatial separations of STM double-tips. Simulations of multiple mini-tip effects in STM images (that ignore electron interference effects) may be understood as modeling multiple mini-tip (or tip shape) effects in images that were recorded with other types of SPMs as long as the lateral sample feature sizes to be imaged are much larger than the effective scanning probe tip sizes.


This article was published as Open Access.

© 2015 Straton et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.



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