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Mapping local interaction forces by AFM

Introduction

The AFM combines a very sharp sensor, which can be positioned in all three dimensions with an accuracy of order Ångstrøm, with an ultrasensitive force sensor with a sensitivity on the order 10pN. This leads automatically to application, where either interaction forces are measured or minute forces are applied to the sample to investigate the response of the sample. The former has been applied to measure colloidal forces (1), the latter to measure specific binding forces (2), the elasticity (3) and force-response of single molecules (4) or the mechanical properties of soft samples (5). When combining force measurements and positioning the tip laterally on the sample interaction forces can be mapped locally (6), which has been applied to measure local electrostatic interactions (7) or local mechanical properties of living cells (8).

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