Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine

Atomic Force Microscopy

Atomic-force microscopy (AFM) is based on the detection of local forces acting between a sharp tip and the sample. The tip scans the sample and differences in height are registered. A surface profile of the sample is generated with a resolution that can be orders of magnitude better than the one yielded by light microscopy. Piezoelectric elements accurately control the precise movements of the tip. The atomic force microscope at the IMIT is mounted on an inverted optical microscope allowing for simultaneous fluorescence and AFM imaging.

JPK Instruments NanoWizzard III

Key features:

Research example

Surface topology of Streptomyces spores

Günther Muth1 and Filipp Oesterhelt2
Departments of Microbiology / Biotechnology1 and Microbial Bioactive Compounds2

Cover glasses with spore chains of Streptomyces sp. were imaged via an inverted optical microscope to select for hyphae at the specific stage of sporulation. The area of interest for AFM imaging was selected directly in an image of the spore chain taken by the CCD camera, using the "direct overlay" option provided in the AFM software.