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Biochemistry, Biophysics, microscopy

3D image of a Red Blood Cell (human) by AFM

Research Area: 
Physical Sciences
Life & Medical Sciences

Unidad de Biofísica (Biophysics Unit)
Campus Universitario de Leioa (University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU)
Barrio Sarriena s/n
48940 Leioa, Vizcaya (Spain)


Dr. Félix M. Goñi
email: felix.goni@ehu.eus

Dr. Aritz García
Phone: 946013350
email: aritzgarciaar@hotmail.com

Available for external users?: 

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is a scanning probe technique used for the study and characterization of any kind of surface. It consists on a laser focused on top of a piezoelectric cantilever with a tip oriented towards the surface. The tip has a nominal radius of several nanometers (usually in the 2 nm to 20 nm range) which allows an extremely high lateral resolution. This opens up a window to state-of-the-art studies at the nanoscale. 3D images can be obtained or nanomechanical resistance towards indentation can be measured on biological samples (i.e. a supported lipid bilayer) and small-sized cells, such as red blood cells, can be scanned as well in order to measure cell thickness, cell size or cell morphology. Our current setup also allows direct combination with epifluorescence microscopy, which opens more possibilities as both techniques are complementary: we can identify the presence of any fluorescent probe or immunofluorescent-labelled component and perform an AFM image and/or force test on it.


Applications of interest
- Topography of supported lipid bilayers with or without proteins
- Characterization of the nanomechanical properties of biological samples
- Roughness measurements
- Cell imaging