KANAZAWA, Japan, March 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Researchers at Kanazawa University report in Review of Scientific Instruments a newly developed atomic force microscopy method for imaging organic samples and processes. The methodology gives increased body charges and much less disturbance of samples.

High-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM) is an imaging method that can be utilized for visualizing organic processes, for instance the exercise of proteins. Nowadays, typical HS-AFM body charges are as excessive as 12 frames per second. In order to enhance the capabilities of the tactic, in order that it may be utilized to an ever increasing vary of organic samples, higher video charges are wanted, although. Moreover, quicker recording instances suggest much less interplay between the pattern and the probe — a tip scanning the pattern’s floor — making the imaging process much less invasive. Now, Shingo Fukuda and Toshio Ando from Nano Life Science Institute (WPI-NanoLSI), Kanazawa University have developed another HS-AFM method to extend the body charge as much as 30 frames per second.

An AFM picture is generated by laterally transferring a tip round simply above a pattern’s floor. During this xy-scanning movement, the tip’s place within the path perpendicular to the xy-plane (the z-coordinate) will comply with the pattern’s peak profile. The variation of the z-coordinate of the tip then produces a peak map — the picture of the pattern.

Fukuda and Ando labored on HS-AFM within the so-called amplitude-modulation mode. The tip is then made to oscillate with a set amplitude. While scanning a floor, the oscillation amplitude will change due to peak variations within the pattern’s construction. To get again to the unique amplitude, a correction to the tip-sample distance must be made. How massive the correction must be is said to the pattern’s floor topology, and is dictated by the so-called suggestions management error of the setup. The scientists famous that the suggestions management error is totally different when the tip strikes in reverse instructions, known as tracing and retracing. This distinction is finally because of the totally different bodily forces at play when the tip is ‘pulled’ (tracing) and when it’s ‘pushed’ (retracing).

Based on their insights into the physics of the tracing and retracing processes, Fukuda and Ando developed an imaging regime that bypasses retracing. This then must be correctly accounted for within the controlling algorithm. The researchers examined their only-trace-imaging mode on actin filament samples. (Actin is a protein quite common in cells.) The imaging was not solely quicker, but additionally much less invasive — the filaments broke a lot much less often . They additionally recorded polymerization processes (by protein–protein interactions); once more, the tactic was discovered to be quicker and much less disturbing in comparison with the usual AFM tracing-retracing operation.

The scientists are assured that their “simple and highly effective method will soon be installed in the existing and upcoming HS-AFM systems, and will improve a wide range of HS-AFM imaging studies in biophysics and other fields.”

Related photos


Caption for Figure 1: Difference of invasiveness between hint and retrace scanning processes.

(a) Raster scanning: Trace scanning (pink line) and retrace scanning (blue line) of the pattern stage,

(b) instructions of tip scanning relative to pattern in hint and retrace scanning processes,

(c) distinction in suggestions management error between the hint and retrace scanning processes. Error photos of the actin filament oriented almost alongside the Y-axis (prime) and the error profile (backside),

(d, e) distinction within the instructions of torques produced  by lateral and vertical forces exerted on the cantilever from the pattern throughout hint (d) and retrace (e) scanning processes,

(f, g)  HS-AFM photos of actin filaments captured at 10 fps within the OTI (f) and ORI (g) modes. In the ORI mode, actin filaments have been shortly damaged.


Figure 2. The circuit put in for the OTI mode and its operation.

(a) During retrace scanning, a DC offset sign (Aos < 0) is added to the amplitude sign (A). The suggestions management operates as if the probe have been in sturdy contact with the pattern, and thus the pattern stage is moved away from the tip.

(b) Driving sign for X-scanner within the OTI mode (prime), DC offset sign added to true amplitude sign (center), and Z-scanner displacement (backside).


Shingo Fukuda and Toshio Ando.  Faster high-speed atomic force microscopy for imaging of biomolecular processes, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 92, 033705 (2021).

DOI: 10.1063/5.0032948
URL: https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0032948

About WPI nanoLSI Kanazawa University

Hiroe Yoneda
Vice Director of Public Affairs
WPI Nano Life Science Institute (WPI-NanoLSI)
Kanazawa University
Kakuma-machi, Kanazawa 920-1192, Japan
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +81 (76) 234-4550

About Nano Life Science Institute (WPI-NanoLSI)

Nano Life Science Institute (NanoLSI), Kanazawa University is a analysis middle established in 2017 as a part of the World Premier International Research Center Initiative of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The goal of this initiative is to kind world-tier analysis facilities. NanoLSI combines the foremost information of bio-scanning probe microscopy to determine ‘nano-endoscopic strategies’ to straight picture, analyze, and manipulate biomolecules for insights into mechanisms governing life phenomena comparable to illnesses.

About Kanazawa University

As the main complete college on the Sea of Japan coast, Kanazawa University has contributed significantly to increased schooling and tutorial analysis in Japan because it was based in 1949. The University has three faculties and 17 faculties providing programs in topics that embrace medication, laptop engineering, and humanities.

The University is situated on the coast of the Sea of Japan in Kanazawa – a metropolis wealthy in historical past and tradition. The metropolis of Kanazawa has a extremely revered mental profile because the time of the fiefdom (1598-1867). Kanazawa University is split into two essential campuses: Kakuma and Takaramachi for its roughly 10,200 college students together with 600 from abroad.

SOURCE Kanazawa University