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David Nečas, Petr Klapetek

Study of user influence in routine SPM data processing

Measurement Science and Technology 28 (2017) 034014

Quantitative results obtained using scanning probe microscopy (SPM) are influenced not only by instrumentation factors, but also humans, SPM users, that perform the data processing and evaluation of statistical, dimensional and other parameters from the images. We investigate this user influence empirically by performing several experiments, in which real humans process SPM data in different settings using the same software, and statistically characterise the results. Two types of experiments are conducted. One in well-defined laboratory setting where prescribed procedures requiring user input are applied by experienced users to large ensembles of similar data. The other in open setting in which a large group of SPM users evaluates the same images to obtain specified parameters but without external guidance. The open study in particular brings results that should be alarming for the SPM community and SPM metrology in particular. We also attempt to derive some guidance for the design of SPM data processing software functions from the results and classify the amount of user input in data processing functions.

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DOI: 10.1088/1361-6501/28/3/034014

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