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Towards easy and reliable AFM tip shape determination using blind tip reconstruction.

Flater, E E*; Zacharakis-Jutz, G E*; Dunba, B A*; White, I A*; Clifford, C A (2014) Towards easy and reliable AFM tip shape determination using blind tip reconstruction. Ultramicroscopy, 146. pp. 130-143.

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Quantitative determination of the geometry of an atomic force microscope (AFM) probe tip is critical for robust measurements of the nanoscale properties of surfaces, including accurate measurement of sample features and quantification of tribological characteristics. Blind tip reconstruction, which determines tip shape from an AFM image scan without knowledge of tip or sample shape, was established most notably by Villarrubia (J. Res. NIST, 102, 1997) and has been developing since that time. Nevertheless, the implementation of blind tip reconstruction for the general user to produce reliable and consistent estimates of tip shape has been hindered due to uncertainties over key input parameters of tip matrix size and threshold value, which strongly impact the results of the tip reconstruction. These key parameters are investigated here via an extension of Villarrubia¿s blind tip reconstruction algorithms, which has the added the capabilities for users to systematically vary the key tip reconstruction parameters, evaluate the set of possible tip reconstructions, and determine the optimal tip reconstruction. We demonstrate the abilities of these algorithms through the analysis a set of simulated AFM images, as well as a real AFM image, to provide practical guidelines for users of the blind tip reconstruction method. We focus especially on the choice of threshold parameter in order to obtain an optimal tip shape using an unknown sample or the sample under test.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: AFM, tip shape, SPM
Subjects: Nanoscience
Nanoscience > Surface and Nanoanalysis
Identification number/DOI: 10.1016/j.ultramic.2013.06.022
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2018 13:13
URI: http://eprintspublications.npl.co.uk/id/eprint/6366

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