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Elucidation and Identification of Double-Tip Effects in Atomic Force Microscopy Studies of Biological Structures

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DOI: 10.4236/jsemat.2012.223037    4,611 Downloads   7,670 Views   Citations
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While atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been increasingly applied to life science, artifactual measurements or images can occur during nanoscale analyses of cell components and biomolecules. Tip-sample convolution effect is the most common mechanism responsible for causing artifacts. Some deconvolution-based methods or algorithms have been developed to reconstruct the specimen surface or the tip geometry. Double-tip or double-probe effect can also induce artifactual images by a different mechanism from that of convolution effect. However, an objective method for identifying the double-tip/probe-induced artifactual images is still absent. To fill this important gap, we made use of our expertise of AFM to analyze artifactual double-tip images of cell structures and biomolecules, such as linear DNA, during AFM scanning and imaging. Mathematical models were then generated to elucidate the artifactual double-tip effects and images develop during AFM imaging of cell structures and biomolecules. Based on these models, computational formulas were created to measure and identify potential double-tip AFM images. Such formulas proved to be useful for identification of double-tip images of cell structures and DNA molecules. The present studies provide a useful methodology to evaluate double-tip effects and images. Our results can serve as a foundation to design computer-based automatic detection of double-tip AFM images during nanoscale measuring and imaging of biomolecules and even non-biological materials or structures, and then personal experience is not needed any longer to evaluate artifactual images induced by the double-tip/probe effect.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Y. Chen, "Elucidation and Identification of Double-Tip Effects in Atomic Force Microscopy Studies of Biological Structures," Journal of Surface Engineered Materials and Advanced Technology, Vol. 2 No. 3A, 2012, pp. 238-247. doi: 10.4236/jsemat.2012.223037.


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