Skip to Main Content
Since its invention, atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been used in a wide variety of biological studies, from the topography imaging to the interactions of both subcell molecular (i.e., DNA and protein) and cell membranes. Particularly, the force-curve measurement using AFM has become a powerful tool to study the biophysical and/or biochemical properties of single bimolecular and single cell, at unprecedented spatial and force resolution. However, currently the temporal resolution of AFM force curve measurement is limited by its low operation speed. For example, studies such as the time-dependence of the unfolding force of a titin domain, and the time-dependence of the unbinding force of a single DNA strand, are still limited to the low-speed range when using force-curve measurement. Large temporal distortions also occur during the force-volume imaging of a live cell when mapping the force-curve distribution across the cell membrane, because of the large time lapse between the force-curve acquired at the first and the last sample point. In this article, a novel inversion-based iterative control technique is proposed to dramatically increase the speed of forcecurve measurements. The experimental results are presented to show that by using the proposed control technique, the speed of force-curve measurements can be significantly increased (over 60 times) --- with no loss of spatial resolution. This control technique, demonstrated on a commercial AFM platform with a conventional cantilever, can be easily automated with guaranteed performance.
Date of Conference: 22-25 Sept. 2007