Recognizing and Avoiding Artifacts in AFM Imaging
Images taken with the atomic force microscope (AFM) originate in physical interactions that are totally different from those used for image formation in conventional light and electron microscopy. One of the effects is that a new series of artifacts can appear in images that may not be readily recognized by users accustomed to conventional microscopy. Because we are addressing our-selves to novices in this field, we would like to give an idea of what can happen while taking images with the AFM, how one can recognize the source of the artifact, and then try to avoid it or minimize it. Essentially, one can identify the following sources of artifacts in AFM images: the tip, the scanner, vibrations, the feedback circuit, and image-processing software.