Atomic Force Microscopy Core Facility

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), an advanced multi-parametric imaging technique, not only delivers high-resolution 3D images of the topography of living biological samples, but also enables the characterization of the nanomechanical properties of molecules, cells, and tissues. AFM is an attractive tool for studying the systemic response to physiological processes. We can evaluate the stiffness of the sample surface by measuring the elastic properties (Young’s modulus) as a function of growth, differentiation, disease, or treatment. In addition, non-cellular structures can also be analyzed.

The core uses a BioScope™ II atomic force microscope (Bruker Corporation; Santa Barbara, CA) that requires minimal sample preparation. The BioScope™ II is integrated with a Nikon TE2000 inverted optical microscope to facilitate bright-field and fluorescence images.

The services of the Atomic Force Microscopy Core include:

  • Topographical imaging of samples in air or liquid environments
  • High-resolution imaging at the nanometric scale
  • Time-lapse experiments that show changes in sample morphology or structure
  • Nanoprobing of samples to measure molecular interactive forces
  • Studies of local micromechanical properties (elasticity, stiffness, adhesion, roughness)
  • Data analysis for determination of homogeneity, size distribution, position, force volume mapping and 3D imaging of a sample

(Services provided to internal/external users and the public sector)

BioScope II scanner
BioScope II scanner (Bruker Inc)
3D AFM image of a HeLa cell
3D AFM image of a HeLa cell
3D AFM image of liposomes during internalization
3D AFM image of liposomes during internalization

Research Scientist and Director of the AFM Core
UTHealth Houston
1881 East Road, 3SCRB 6.3728
Houston, Texas 77054
Phone: (713) 486-5418