Combined Force/Fluorescence Microscope

Integration of fluorescence microscope into atomic force microscope. The combination of both microscopy techniques will open new horizons for cell studies. The AFM allows for the specific localization of receptor molecules on a cell surface (receptor mapping) and for a subsequent exactly timed and localized stimulation of these receptors. Meanwhile, the single molecule fluorescence imaging allows for the monitoring of signalling processes following stimulation up to cellular response (e.g. cell surface rearrangement, receptor conjugation, structural changes of receptor molecules, biochemical transformations and opening of ion channels) with high temporal and spatial resolution.
We aim at the combination of fore and fluorescence microscopy into a single system. The combination of atomic force microscopy (AFM) and single molecule fluorescence microscopy is not merely a simple addition of two components, but will require a careful integration and full synchronization of mechanics, optics, hardware and software. The trade-off between the implementation of different fluorescence techniques (e.g. transmission light microscopy versus epi-fluorescence) and AFM performance (e.g. scanning cantilever versus scanning stage) will be assessed. The final aim is to provide a costumer friendly easy-to-use platform. The developments will go line in line with life science applications to achieve maximal developmental and publication impact.