Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) Algorithm That Increases Accuracy of Scan Results

Technology #16081

Requires No Additional Hardware, Determines Accurate Position of Atoms on Material’s Surface By Combining Multiple Scans

This algorithm combines multiple scans from a scanning tunneling microscope to reduce or eliminate errors in individual scans without any hardware upgrades. Scanning tunneling microscopes are electron microscopes that show 3D images of a sample on an atomic level. Available scanning tunneling microscopes are not able to differentiate between two-dimension and 3D conduction or to accurately measure transport properties and small signals in 2D materials and are limited by equipment response time and amount of data acquired when speed and throughput are increased.

Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a computational algorithm within a software package to more rapidly analyze scanning tunneling microscope data and high-throughput measurements. This software creates a solution to the problem that noise and inconsistency in multiple scans cause to the size and complexity of scanning tunneling microscope data and is also applicable to other scanning probe instruments, such as atomic force microscopy.


Software package for image extraction and correction enabling for high-speed, high-throughput scanning tunneling microscopes


  • Requires no additional hardware purchases or upgrades, minimizing costs
  • Works with any level of hardware, from the conventional setup to top-of-the-line or custom-built systems, providing data correction and extraction of new information for all systems
  • Provides feedback to researchers, allowing the experimental procedure to be redesigned and improved


Scanning tunneling microscopes show the position of individual atoms with high resolution. This software utilizes algorithms to analyze several scanning tunneling microscope scans to obtain an accurate image of the materials surface on an atomic level. Correcting information from both forward and backward scans eliminates significant image distortions and scan drift that can be present in scans from high-speed scanning tunneling microscopes. The software aligns scan traces and generates weighting factors from the scan alignment based on the smoothness to determine the accurate position of atoms on the surface.