Nanoscale live-cell imaging using hopping probe ion conductance microscopy

Nat Methods. 2009 Apr;6(4):279-81. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1306. Epub 2009 Mar 1.


We describe hopping mode scanning ion conductance microscopy that allows noncontact imaging of the complex three-dimensional surfaces of live cells with resolution better than 20 nm. We tested the effectiveness of this technique by imaging networks of cultured rat hippocampal neurons and mechanosensory stereocilia of mouse cochlear hair cells. The technique allowed examination of nanoscale phenomena on the surface of live cells under physiological conditions.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured / ultrastructure*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Image Enhancement / instrumentation
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Ions
  • Microscopy, Scanning Probe / instrumentation*
  • Microscopy, Scanning Probe / methods*
  • Nanotechnology / instrumentation*
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Ions