Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) techniques allow imaging of nanoscale surfaces and structures with atomic resolution based on various principles. They all make use of a physical probe to scan an area of a sample surface. During scanning, data are collected by a computer to generate an image of the surface, visualizing its nanoscale structure. Additionally some types of SPMs can be used as a manipulation tool to move individual atoms for creating specific patterns. In contrast to optical microscopy, SPM is a blind technique. Instead of using light for imaging, SPM uses a probe for sensing specific surface characteristics, like topography or material properties, to represent them in an image.