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Lessons from a traveling salesperson improve scanning tunneling microscopy


We use the wisdom of a traveling salesperson to multiply the throughput of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) for quantum materials discovery. A traveling salesperson and an STM are surprisingly similar. Both operate in a serial manner as their trips take them from one customer or local density of states (LDOS) measurement to the next. However, the traveling salesperson does a better job, because of two tricks: They concentrate only on customers that impact their bottom-line and they use efficient trip-planning. In contrast, the STM blindly grazes along all LDOS locations without eyeing redundancies. The traveling salesperson teaches efficient STM trip-planning and motivates the use of compressed sensing to focus on the most relevant LDOS. Through this combination, we cut measurement times from weeks down to mere hours. To get more bang for your buck, our method comes at little additional cost, since it can be added to existing STM without the need for further hardware.

More: „Sparse sampling for fast quasiparticle-interference mapping“