Investigation of the magnetic properties of ferritin by AFM imaging with magnetic sample modulation

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Individual ferritin molecules can be sensitively detected using magnetic sample modulation (MSM) combined with contact mode atomic force microscopy (AFM). To generate an oscillating magnetic field, an alternating current (AC) was applied to a solenoid placed within the base of the AFM sample stage. When a modulated electromagnetic field is applied to samples, ferromagnetic and paramagnetic nanomaterials are induced to vibrate. The flux of the AC electromagnetic field causes the ferritin samples to vibrate with corresponding rhythm and periodicity of the applied field. This motion can be detected and mapped using contact mode AFM with a soft, nonmagnetic cantilever. Changes in the phase and amplitude of the periodic motion of the sample are sensed by the tip to selectively map vibrating magnetic nanomaterials. Particle lithography was used to create nanopatterned test platforms of ferritin for MSM measurements. Regularly spaced structures of proteins provide precise reproducible dimensions for multiple successive surface measurements at dimensions of tens of nanometers. [Figure not available: see fulltext.] © 2009 Springer-Verlag.

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Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

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