High-Resolution AFM-Based Force Spectroscopy

  • Krishna P. Sigdel
  • Anna E. Pittman
  • Tina R. Matin
  • Gavin M. KingEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1814)


Atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based force spectroscopy is a powerful technique which has seen significant enhancements in both force and time resolution in recent years. This chapter details two AFM cantilever modification procedures that yield high force precision over different temporal bandwidths. Specifically, it explains a fairly straightforward method to achieve sub-pN force precision and stability at low frequencies (<50 Hz) by removing the metal coatings from a commercially available cantilever. A more involved procedure utilizing a focused ion beam milling machine is required to maintain high force precision at enhanced bandwidths. Both modification methods allow site-specific attachment of biomolecules onto the apex area of the tips for force spectroscopy. The chapter concludes with a comparative demonstration using the two cantilever modification methods to study a lipid-protein interaction.

Key words

Atomic force microscopy Cantilever Tips Functionalization FIB Peptide Lipid bilayer Interaction 



This work was supported by National Science Foundation CAREER Award 1054832 (G.M.K.), a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface (G.M.K.), and the MU Research Board.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krishna P. Sigdel
    • 1
  • Anna E. Pittman
    • 1
  • Tina R. Matin
    • 2
    • 1
  • Gavin M. King
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyWeill Cornell MedicineNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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