This chapter discusses the imaging mechanism of STM and AFM at the atomic scale. Experimental facts show that at atomic resolution, tip electronic states play a key role. Analytic theoretical treatments provide quantitative explanation of the effect of the tip electronic states. On transition-metal tips, first-principle studies unanimously show that d-type tip electronic states dominate the Fermi-level DOS. First-principle studies of the combined tip-sample systems show that for both STM and AFM, the p- and d-type tip electronic states are the keys to understanding the atomic-scale images. The case of spin-polarized STM and the chemical identification of surface atoms are also discussed in terms of tip electronic structure. The chapter concludes with discussions of experimental verifications of the reciprocity principle: at atomic resolution, the role of tip electronic states and the sample electronic states are interchangeable.
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