PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To obtain a fixation method in which the probe of a scanning probe microscope can be fixed to an arbitrary position in a sample only at an arbitrary time interval, by a method wherein a change in terms of time of a microscope image due to the drift of the probe is tracked by overlapping the microscope image, and the amount of the drift generated at a time interval is computed so as to be compensated.
SOLUTION: A reference microscope image in the arbitrary region of a sample is obtained. A driving signal which is given to the fine movement mechanism of a probe 12 is controlled. The probe 12 is moved to a desired position contained in the reference microscope image. A subreference microscope which contains the position is obtained. Then, the position of the subreference microscope image is computed, the probe 12 is moved to the previous position again, the driving signal is held only at a prescribed time interval, and an other microscope image is obtained after the time interval elapses. Then, the position of the other microscope image in the reference microscope image is computed, and the amount of a drift generated during the time interval is computed on the basis of the comparison of the position of the computed subreference microscope image with that of the other microscope image. Then, the driving signal is controlled so as to compensate the amount of the drift, and the probe 12 is moved to the previous position. A step after the computation of the position of the subreference microscope image is repeated.