Measurement of solution viscosity by atomic force microscopy

Nabil Ahmed, Diego F. Nino, Vincent T. Moy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


We report on studies aimed at employing the atomic force microscope (AFM) to measure the viscosity of aqueous solutions. At ambient temperature, the AFM cantilever undergoes thermal fluctuations that are highly sensitive to the local environment. Here, we present measurements of the cantilever's resonant frequency in aqueous solutions of glycerol, sucrose, ethanol, sodium chloride, polyethylene glycol, and bovine plasma albumin. The measurements revealed that variations in the resonant frequency of the cantilever in the different solutions are largely dependent on the viscosity of the medium. An application of this technique is to monitor the progression of a chemical reaction where a change in viscosity is expected to occur. An example is demonstrated through monitoring of the hydrolysis of double stranded deoxyribonucleic acid by DNase I.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2731-2734
Number of pages4
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation


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