Imaging of viruses by atomic force microscopy
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been used to image a variety of virus particles in vitro and could, conceivably, be used as a useful diagnostic for their presence, their structural characterization and even their identification. Virus particles can be imaged by AFM in air, under alcohol or in physiological medium, and accurate measurements of their dimensions obtained. In addition, the appearance and organization of capsomere structures on their surfaces are frequently visible. A number of viruses and virus crystals have been imaged successfully using AFM and improvements in AFM technology and sample handling will undoubtedly increase even more its power, resolution and scope.