Recent improvements in AFM imaging modes and technology are providing an unprecedented level of control for imaging biomolecules in situ at high resolution. The stiffness and adhesion of cells are providing vital disease indicators.
Cells and biomolecules are at home in a liquid environment of well defined composition and temperature. AFM is suitable for liquid phase measurements, and can often provide unique insights on in situ behaviour. Relevant measurements include topography and property maps where the effect of additives on cell morphology and stiffness can be observed, and force spectroscopy for a more detailed analysis of cell mechanics. At the molecular level, the conformation and e.g. hybridisation of DNA, peptides, proteins, lipids and biomembranes can be investigated.