A High-Speed Atomic Force Microscope for Studying Biological Macromolecules in Action

Chemphyschem. 2003 Nov 14;4(11):1196-202. doi: 10.1002/cphc.200300795.


The atomic force microscope (AFM), which was invented by Binnig et al. in 1986, can image at nanometer resolution individual biological macromolecules on a substrate in solution. This unique capability awoke an expectation of imaging processes occurring in biological macromolecules at work. However, this expectation was not met, because the imaging rate with available AFMs was too low to capture biological processes. This expectation has at last been realized by the high-speed AFM developed by our research group at Kanazawa University. In this article, after a brief review of the development of our apparatus, its recent advancement and imaging data obtained with motor proteins are presented.