Novel response function resolves by image deconvolution more details of surface nanomorphology

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A novel method of image processing is presented which relies on deconvolution of data using the response function of the apparatus. It is revealed that all the surface structures observed by digital imaging are generated by a convolution of the response function of the apparatus with the surfaces' nanomorphology, which provided images of convoluted physical structures rather than images of real physical structures. In order to restore the genuine physical information on surface structures, a deconvolution using a novel response function of the feedback circuitry is required. At the highest resolution, that is, atomic resolution, the effect of deconvolution is at its maximum, whereas images at lower resolution are sharpened by eliminating smoothing effects and shadow effects. The method is applied to measurements of imaging by in situ scanning tunnelling microscopy (in situ STM) at atomic resolution and to imaging by in situ STM of electrocrystallization of copper on gold in electrolytes containing copper sulfate and sulfuric acid. It is suggested that the observed peaks of the recorded image do not represent atoms, but the atomic structure may be recovered by image deconvolution followed by calibration of distances, correction for drift phenomena and rotation in the plane of the surface. The technology may subsequently reveal more details of molecular adsorbents. The impact of in situ STM at atomic and lower resolution on imaging is discussed in the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Article number055602
JournalPhysica Scripta
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Mathematical Physics


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