Scanning tunneling state recognition with multi-class neural network ensembles

O. Gordon, P. D'Hondt, L. Knijff, S. E. Freeney, F. Junqueira, P. Moriarty, I. Swart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


One of the largest obstacles facing scanning probe microscopy is the constant need to correct flaws in the scanning probe in situ. This is currently a manual, time-consuming process that would benefit greatly from automation. Here, we introduce a convolutional neural network protocol that enables automated recognition of a variety of desirable and undesirable scanning tunneling tip states on both metal and nonmetal surfaces. By combining the best performing models into majority voting ensembles, we find that the desirable states of H:Si(100) can be distinguished with a mean precision of 0.89 and an average receiver-operator-characteristic curve area of 0.95. More generally, high and low-quality tips can be distinguished with a mean precision of 0.96 and near perfect area-under-curve of 0.98. With trivial modifications, we also successfully automatically identify undesirable, non-surface-specific states on surfaces of Au(111) and Cu(111). In these cases, we find mean precisions of 0.95 and 0.75 and area-under-curves of 0.98 and 0.94, respectively. Provided that training data are available, these ensembles therefore enable fully autonomous scanning tunneling state recognition for a wide range of typical scanning conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103704
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2019


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