Facilities & Services

AFM Core Facility PICMI

Sabrina PISANO, Engineer, IECN INSERM


Unique in the scientific panorama of the Côte d’Azur, the IRCAN biological atomic force microscopy (AFM) facility is a branch of the IRCAN Cellular and Molecular Imaging Platform (PICMI). This Imaging core facility is part of the network “Microscopie et Imagerie de la Côte d’Azur” MICA (http://unice.fr/plateformes/mica/) that mutualizes the technical facilities in imaging and microscopy of 7 different partners belonging to the “Côte d'Azur” academic research. This network is certified IBiSA (Infrastructures en Biologie Santé et Agronomie, https://www.ibisa.net/).

By atomic force microscopy it is possible to obtain quantitative information in the three spatial dimensions using a probe that makes a raster scanner of the surface producing a topographic image of the sample by measuring forces (at the pico-Newton range) between the probe and the surface at very short distance (0.2-10 nm probe-sample separation). AFM allows imaging and force spectroscopy studies for the nano-characterization (topography and/or nano-mechanical proprieties) of samples.

The advantages of the technique lie in the almost no sample preparation requirement that leaves the native surface unaltered and in the possibility of performing the experiment in a liquid environment (physiological condition).

The high resolution of AFM can be used in a very wide spectrum of applications from cell or tissue imaging to single molecules, not only for topography but also for studying the mechanical properties of biological samples.

Facilities & Services