This e-book provides an introduction to atomic force microscopy (AFM) and its life science research capabilities. It explains the workings of a typical AFM instrument, including modes, and outlines some of the challenges involved in studying biological materials. It also explores some of the latest developments and advances in AFM technology and applications.
Using a cantilever with a sharp tip attached to the free end, AFM detects the varying forces as the tip is scanned over a sample surface. Not only does this build up an atomic-scale topographic map of the surface, but it also reveals information about various mechanical and electrical properties that have a big impact on cellular functions. AFM is thus proving an ideal technique for observing, exploring and manipulating the surface of many different biological samples, ranging from individual biomolecules such as DNA or proteins, to individual cells and even whole tissue samples.