This chapter discusses the effect of force and deformation of the tip apex and the sample surface in the operation and imaging mechanism of STM and AFM. Because the contact area is of atomic dimension, a very small force and deformation would generate a large measurable effect. Three effects are discussed. First is the stability of the STM junction, which depends on the rigidity of the material. For soft materials, hysterisis is more likely. For rigid materials, the approaching and retraction cycles are continuous and reproducible. Second is the effect of force and deformation to the STM imaging mechanism. For soft material such as graphite, force and deformation can amplify the observed corrugation. For hard materials as most metals, force and deformation can decrease the observed corrugation. Finally, the effect of force and deformation on tunneling barrier height measurements is discussed.
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