Scanning Probe Microscopy

SPM (scanning probe microscopy) is a world of acronyms.  

It includes:

AFM (atomic force microscopy), SFM (scanning force microscopy), STM (scanning tunneling microscopy), EFM (electric force microscopy), SKPM (scanning Kelvin probe micrscopy), SCM (scanning capacitance microscopy), MFM (magnetic force microscopy) , NSOM/SNOM (near-field scanning optical microscopy/scanning near-field optical microscopy) and many others.

The common feature to all these is a sharp probe which scans very close to a surface using piezoelectric transducers and senses some local (ultimate atomic resolution) property such as current, force, etc...    

In its profilometry mode, the microscope can measure the topography and surface characteristics of a sample, operating much like a phonograph and vinyl record, only on a much smaller scale.   Unfortunately, the images obtained are a combination of the sample and tip geometry and this can cause some very undesirable effects. The MIDAS program, which is described and available in the pages below, can process the images to reduce these distortions, thereby giving a more accurate representation of the sample.

The pages explaining the workings of the AFM, and how to handle the "dilation" caused by the tip were created by Dr. Peter Markiewicz, a former post-doc in the Lab, and inventor of MIDAS .

Use the following pages to learn more about the MIDAS program and what it does. Feel free to submit comments or your own images of artifacts and this processing technique.

How the typical AFM works
Con/deconvolution (a.k.a. Dilation/Erosion)
Tip estimation using Blind Reconstruction
A special 3D probe microscope
Available Tip Characterizers and What These Look Like
Spot the Artifacts and other Deconvolution Examples
Convolution and its effect on Helicity
Related links!