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Biological Force Microscopy

Caption:

A composite of scanning electron microscope images showing biological force microscopy (BFM), developed by National Science Foundation-funded researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The BFM measures nanoscale forces between a living microorganism and another surface such as a mineral or another cell. Such measurements are critical to understanding how bacteria and other microorganisms interact with their inorganic environments.

This image shows a bacterium (green) that has attached itself to a BFM cantilever (gold). Nanometer by nanometer, the researchers performing this work would bring a mineral crystal (blue) towards the cantilever, make contact, and then withdraw the crystal. The cantilever bends due to either attractive or repulsive forces between the cell and mineral. A laser reflecting off the top of the cantilever hits a detector, measuring the nanoscale forces in real time.

Biological Force Microscopy
(Preview Only)

Credit: Credit Dr. Steven Lower, Dept of Geology, Univ of Maryland; and Dr. Michael Hochella, Virginia Tech
Decade of Image: 2000 - 2009

Categories:

NANOTECHNOLOGY

Formats Available:

Restrictions:

No additional restrictions--beyond NSF's general restrictions--have been placed on this image. For a list of general restrictions that apply to this and all images in the NSF Image Library, see the section "Conditions".

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Last Modified: Mar 29, 2001