The Nanoscale World

Toward Quantitative Nanomechanical Measurements on Live Cells with PeakForce QNM - AN141


posted by Stephen Minne
Fri, Sep 6 2013

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Toward Quantitative Nanomechanical Measurements on Live Cells with PeakForce QNM - AN141

Measuring and mapping mechanical properties of live
cells is of high importance in today’s biological research.
Atomic force microscopy1 has been recognized since the
mid-eighties as an excellent technique to image a wide
range of samples in their near-natural environment. Although
the primary function of atomic force microscopy is to
generate a three-dimensional (3D) profile of the scanned
surface, much more information is available through the
technique. TappingMode™, which was developed in 1993,2
prevents tip and sample damage from friction and shear
forces, and allows qualitative mechanical property mapping
through phase imaging. Around the same time, force
spectroscopy,3 and force volume4 were developed to study
tip-sample forces at a point, or over an area respectively.
Traditionally, force spectroscopy and force volume are the
most commonly used modes to quantitatively measure
mechanical forces at the nanometer scale. Unfortunately,
both techniques have suffered from slow acquisition speed
and a lack of automated tools to analyze the hundreds to
thousands of curves required for good statistics.

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