Atomic force microscopy for characterization of the biomaterial interface

Christopher Siedlecki, Roger E. Marchant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


The molecular processes that occur at the interface of an implanted biomaterial determines the host response, including phenomena such as protein adsorption, conformational changes, and subsequent interactions with cellular components. Until recently, such processes could not be observed directly. Over the past decade, atomic force microscopy (AFM) has provided mechanistic insights into the molecular level interactions that occur at the biomaterial interface. Several unique operational modes have been developed which utilize intermittent contact with the sample and decrease applied shear forces. These dynamic modes also can be used to study the role of different structural components on biomaterial micromechanical properties. Force detection techniques allow molecular level studies of individual receptor-ligand binding events, and force mapping for determining structure/function relationships. Advancements in tip manufacturing, image processing techniques, the use of model surfaces and labeling all have contributed to the advancement of the AFM as a state-of-the-art research instrument. In this report, we examine the applicability of the AFM to the study of biomaterials and cell/molecular interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-454
Number of pages14
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Mar 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials


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