Scanning tunneling microscopy of freeze-fracture replicas of biomembranes

Joseph A.N. Zasadzinski, Jason Schneir, John Gurley, Virgil Elings, Paul K. Hansma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


The high resolution of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) makes it a potentially important tool for the study of biomaterials. Biological materials can be imaged with the STM by a procedure in which fluid, nonconductive biomaterials are replaced by rigid and highly conductive freeze-fracture replicas. The three-dimensional contours of the ripple phase of dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine bilayers were imaged with unprecedented resolution with commercial STMs and standard freeze-fracture techniques. Details of the ripple amplitude, asymmetry, and configuration unobtainable by electron microscopy or x-ray diffraction can be observed relatively easily with the STM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1015
Number of pages3
Issue number4843
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


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