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Force-Distance Measurements

Targeted characterization of individual force interactions
Force distance curve. The approach (red) and withdraw (blue) curves are shown on the right. Note that the total contact force is dependent on the adhesion as well as the applied load.

The binding force with which a ligand binds to a receptor molecule often has profound downstream effects on a biological system. Such interactions are important in cell signaling and pharmaceutical research, among other areas. Force-distance measurements enable researchers to study attractive and repulsive forces on a probe as it approaches and retracts from a sample surface. Additional data can be obtained by attaching molecules of interest to the probe tip.

Force-distance techniques are commonly applied to investigating fundamental force interactions, nano-scale adhesive and elastic response, binding forces, colloidal studies, and chemical sensing. Force-distance is just one technique in Bruker’s comprehensive nanomechanics solutions, along with PeakForce QNM® and quantitative Force Volume mapping.