Creating nanoscopic collagen matrices using atomic force microscopy

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Fengzhi Jiang - , Dresden University of Technology (Author)
  • Khaled Khairy - (Author)
  • Kate Poole - , Dresden University of Technology (Author)
  • Jonathon Howard - (Author)
  • Daniel J. Müller - , Chair of Cellular Machines (Author)


The atomic force microscope (AFM) is introduced as a biomolecular manipulation machine capable of assembling biological molecules into well-defined molecular structures. Native collagen molecules were mechanically directed into well-defined, two-dimensional templates exhibiting patterns with feature sizes ranging from a few nanometers to several hundreds of micrometers. The resulting nanostructured collagen matrices were only ∼3-nm thick, exhibited an extreme mechanical stability, and maintained their properties over the time range of several months. Our results directly demonstrate the plasticity of biological assemblies and provide insight into the physical mechanisms by which biological structures may be organized by cells in vivo. These nanoscopic templates may serve as platforms on non-biological surfaces to direct molecular and cellular processes.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-440
Number of pages6
JournalMicroscopy research and technique
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

External IDs

PubMed 15549696



  • Atomic force microscopy, Collagen type I, Microfibrils, Molecular interactions, Protein assembly