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High-speed AFM R&D Division

Super-resolution AFM R&D Division

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Imaging Research Division

Molecule & Cell Research Division

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hSuper-resolution AFM R&D Division"n

lipid-ion network

mica-water interface

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been widely used for biological research owing to its unique capability of imaging nanoscale structures at a solid/liquid interface. However, the spatial resolution of liquid-environment AFM had been inferior to that obtained in vacuum, until recently. Almost all the recent advances in vacuum-environment AFM, including atom manipulation, atom identification and subatomic-scale imaging, were achieved by frequency modulation AFM (FM-AFM). However, such atomic-scale experiments had never been successful in liquid. Recently, we have overcome this limitation by developing an ultra-low noise cantilever deflection sensor and made it possible to operate FM-AFM in liquid with true atomic resolution. This technical innovation enabled to visualize subnanometer-scale features of biological molecules (e.g., beta-sheets of amyloid fibrils and alpha-helices of tubulin molecules). Furthermore, the high force sensitivity and precise control of the vertical tip position in FM-AFM enabled us to visualize three-dimensional distribution of water molecules at a solid/liquid interface with subnanometer-scale resolution. 

Ongoing Research: Our present research includes further development of liquid-environment FM-AFM and exploration of its possible applications in biology. The former includes improvement of the operation speed and development of a liquid-environment potential measurement technique while the latter includes studies on microtubles and lipid membranes. We also collaborate with several SPM companies world wide to promote the use of FM-AFM in various research fields.@

Selected Publications

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N. Kobayashi, H. Asakawa, T. Fukuma, gNanoscale potential measurements in liquid by frequency modulation atomic force microscopyh, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 81: 123705 (2010) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, gWater distribution at solid/liquid interfaces visualized by frequency modulation atomic force microscopyh, Sci. Technol. Adv. Mater. 11: 033003 (2010) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, Y. Ueda, S. Yoshioka, H. Asakawa, gAtomic-Scale Distribution of Water Molecules at the Mica-Water Interface Visualized by Three-Dimensional Scanning Force Microscopyh, Phys. Rev. Lett. 104: 016101 (2010) (Abstract)

H. Asakawa and T. Fukuma, gSpurious-free cantilever excitation in liquid by piezoactuator with flexure drive mechanismh, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 80: 103703 (2009) (Abstract)

H. Yamada, K. Kobayashi, T. Fukuma, Y. Hirata, T. Kajita and K. Matsushige, gMolecular Resolution Imaging of Protein Molecules in Liquid Using Frequency Modulation Atomic Force Microscopyh, Appl. Phys. Express 2:  095007 (2009) (Abstract)

Y. Mitani, M. Kubo, K. Muramoto, and T. Fukuma, gWideband digital frequency detector with subtraction-based phase comparator for frequency modulation atomic force microscopyh, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 80: 083705 (2009) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, gSubnanometer-Resolution Frequency Modulation Atomic Force Microscopy in Liquid for Biological Applicationsh, Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 48: 08JA01 (2009) (Abstract)

H. Asakawa, T. Fukuma, gThe molecular-scale arrangement and mechanical strength of phospholipid/cholesterol mixed bilayers investigated by frequency modulation atomic force microscopy in liquidh, Nanotechnology 20: 264008 (2009) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, gWideband low-noise optical beam deflection sensor with photothermal excitation for liquid-environment atomic force microscopyh, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 80: 023707 (2009) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, gInstrumentation and Biological Applications of High-Resolution Frequency Modulation Atomic Force Microscopy in Liquidh, J. Nano Res. 4: 1-10 (2008) (Abstract)

T. Ando, T. Uchihashi, T. Fukuma, gHigh-speed atomic force microscopy for nano-visualization of dynamic biomolecular processesh, Prog. Surf. Sci. 83: 337-437 (2008) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, A. S. Mostaert, L. C. Serpell, S. P. Jarvis, gRevealing molecular-level surface structure of amyloid fibrils in liquid by means of frequency modulation atomic force microscopyh, Nanotechnology 19: 384010 (2008) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, Y. Okazaki, N. Kodera, T.Uchihashi, T.Ando,  gHigh resonance frequency force microscope scanner using inertia balance supporth, Appl. Phys. Lett. 92: 243119 (2008) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, M. J. Higgins, S. P. Jarvis, gDirect imaging of lipid-ion network formation under physiological conditions by frequency modulation atomic force microscopyh, Phys. Rev. Lett. 98: 106101 (2007) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, M. J. Higgins, S. P. Jarvis, gDirect Imaging of Individual Intrinsic Hydration Layers on Lipid Bilayers at Angstrom Resolutionh, Biophys. J. 92: 3603-3609 (2007) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, J. Kilpatrick, S. P. Jarvis, gPhase modulation atomic force microscope with true atomic resolutionh, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 77: 123703(2006) (Abstract)

A. S. Mostaert, M. J. Higgins, T. Fukuma, F. Rindi, S. P. Jarvis, gNanoscale Mechanical Characterization of Amyloid Fibrils Discovered in a Natural Adhesiveh, J. Biol. Phys. 32: 393-401(2006) (Abstract)

M. J. Higgins, M. Polcik, T. Fukuma, J. E. Sader, Y. Nakayama and S. P. Jarvis, gStructured Water Layers Adjacent to Biological Membranesh, Biophys. J. 91: 2532-2542 (2006) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, A. S. Mostaert and S. P. Jarvis, gExplanation for the mechanical strength of amyloid fibrilsh, Tribology Lett. 22: 233-237 (2006) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma and S. P. Jarvis, gDevelopment of Liquid Environment Frequency Modulation Atomic Force Microscope with Low Noise Deflection Sensor for Cantilevers of Various Dimensionsh, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 77:  043701 (2006) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, M. Kimura, K. Kobayashi, K. Matsushige and H. Yamada, gDevelopment of Low Noise Cantilever Deflection Sensor for Multienvironment Frequency-Modulation Atomic Force Microscopyh, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 76: 053704 (2005) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, K. Kobayashi, K. Matsushige and H. Yamada, gTrue Atomic Resolution in Liquid by Frequency-Modulation Atomic Force Microscopyh, Appl. Phys. Lett. 87: 034101 (2005) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, K. Kobayashi, K. Matsushige and H. Yamada, gTrue Molecular Resolution in Liquid by Frequency-Modulation Atomic Force Microscopyh, Appl. Phys. Lett. 86: 193108 (2005) (Abstract)

T. Fukuma, T. Ichii, K. Kobayashi, H. Yamada and K. Matsushige, gTrue-Molecular Resolution Imaging by Frequency Modulation Atomic Force Microscopy in Various Environmentsh, Appl. Phys. Lett. 86: 034103 (2005) (Abstract)

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