Nanomechanical spectroscopy of synthetic and biological membranes†
We report that atomic force microscopy based high-speed nanomechanical analysis can identify components of complex heterogeneous synthetic and biological membranes from the measured spectrum of nanomechanical properties. We have investigated phase separated ternary lipid bilayers and purple membranes of Halobacterium salinarum. The nanomechanical spectra recorded on these samples identify all membrane components, some of which are difficult to resolve in conventional phase images. This non-destructive approach can aid the design of synthetic lipid bilayers and studies lateral organization of complex heterogeneous cellular membranes.