Application Brief: Studying Variations in Bone Composition at Nano-Scale Resolution:

September 22, 2016

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Key Points

  • AFM-IR delivers novel compositional analysis on bone variation at nanometer scale
  • Investigations done on a non-human primate osteon at nm spatial resolution
  • Possibility to characterize variations in composition of inter- and intra- lamellar bone
  • Results show consistency of spectra and reproducibility of patterns obtained


Samuel Gourion-Arsiquaud , Curtis Marcott , Qichi Hu , Adele L. Boskey


Bone has a hierarchical structure extending from the micrometer to the nanometer scale. We report here the first analysis of non-human primate osteonal bone obtained using a spectrometer coupled to an AFM microscope (AFM-IR), with a resolution of 50–100 nm.

Average spectra correspond to those observed with conventional FTIR spectroscopy. The following validated FTIR parameters were calculated based on intensities observed in scans covering *60 lm from the osteon center: mineral content (1030/1660 cm-1), crystallinity (1030/1020 cm-1), collagen maturity (1660/1690 cm-1), and acid phosphate content (1128/1096 cm-1).

A repeating pattern was found in most of these calculated IR parameters corresponding to the reported inter- and intra-lamellar spacing in human bone, indicating that AFM-IR measurements will be able to provide novel compositional information on the variation in bone at the nanometer level.

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