Fractal Analysis of AFM Images of the Surface of Bowman’s Membrane of the Human Cornea

Ştefan Ţălu, Sebastian Stach, Vivian Sueiras, Noël Marysa Ziebarth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The objective of this study is to further investigate the ultrastructural details of the surface of Bowman’s membrane of the human cornea, using atomic force microscopy (AFM) images. One representative image acquired of Bowman’s membrane of a human cornea was investigated. The three-dimensional (3-D) surface of the sample was imaged using AFM in contact mode, while the sample was completely submerged in optisol solution. Height and deflection images were acquired at multiple scan lengths using the MFP-3D AFM system software (Asylum Research, Santa Barbara, CA), based in IGOR Pro (WaveMetrics, Lake Oswego, OR). A novel approach, based on computational algorithms for fractal analysis of surfaces applied for AFM data, was utilized to analyze the surface structure. The surfaces revealed a fractal structure at the nanometer scale. The fractal dimension, D, provided quantitative values that characterize the scale properties of surface geometry. Detailed characterization of the surface topography was obtained using statistical parameters, in accordance with ISO 25178-2: 2012. Results obtained by fractal analysis confirm the relationship between the value of the fractal dimension and the statistical surface roughness parameters. The surface structure of Bowman’s membrane of the human cornea is complex. The analyzed AFM images confirm a fractal nature of the surface, which is not taken into account by classical surface statistical parameters. Surface fractal dimension could be useful in ophthalmology to quantify corneal architectural changes associated with different disease states to further our understanding of disease evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)906-916
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of biomedical engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Bowman’s membrane
  • Fractal analysis
  • Fractal dimension
  • Human cornea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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