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Nanomaterials 2019, 9(4), 561;

Measurement of Radial Elasticity and Original Height of DNA Duplex Using Tapping-Mode Atomic Force Microscopy

College of Engineering, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin 150030, China
State Key Laboratory of Robotics, Shenyang Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 March 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 30 March 2019 / Published: 6 April 2019
PDF [2225 KB, uploaded 6 April 2019]


Atomic force microscopy (AFM) can characterize nanomaterial elasticity. However, some one-dimensional nanomaterials, such as DNA, are too small to locate with an AFM tip because of thermal drift and the nonlinearity of piezoelectric actuators. In this study, we propose a novel approach to address the shortcomings of AFM and obtain the radial Young’s modulus of a DNA duplex. The elastic properties are evaluated by combining physical calculations and measured experimental results. The initial elasticity of the DNA is first assumed; based on tapping-mode scanning images and tip–sample interaction force simulations, the calculated elastic modulus is extracted. By minimizing the error between the assumed and experimental values, the extracted elasticity is assigned as the actual modulus for the material. Furthermore, tapping-mode image scanning avoids the necessity of locating the probe exactly on the target sample. In addition to elasticity measurements, the deformation caused by the tapping force from the AFM tip is compensated and the original height of the DNA is calculated. The results show that the radial compressive Young’s modulus of DNA is 125–150 MPa under a tapping force of 0.5–1.3 nN; its original height is 1.9 nm. This approach can be applied to the measurement of other nanomaterials. View Full-Text
Keywords: DNA duplex; Young’s modulus; AFM; tapping mode DNA duplex; Young’s modulus; AFM; tapping mode

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Li, L.; Zhang, X.; Wang, H.; Lang, Q.; Chen, H.; Liu, L.Q. Measurement of Radial Elasticity and Original Height of DNA Duplex Using Tapping-Mode Atomic Force Microscopy. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 561.

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