Atomic Force Microscopy

The atomic force microscope is a very useful, yet under-utilized tool in the vision sciences. It allows imaging in liquid with minimal sample preparation (no labeling, fixing, or coating) and yields topographic characterization of surfaces at high resolutions not achievable by optical microscopy. Molecular-scale features of normal and diseased eyes can be identified and compared within the native environment of the sample and in real time providing insight into molecular reorganizations not observable by other techniques. AFM has been used in the imaging of the ommatidium surface of Diptera compound eyes, rhodopsin in the native membrane, and aquaporin in a lens capsule.

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