Direct investigation of charge transfer in neurons by electrostatic force microscopy

Weidong Zhao, Wei Cui, Shujun Xu, Yuanyuan Wang, Ke Zhang, Deyu Wang, Ling Zhi Cheong, Flemming Besenbacher, Cai Shen

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Charge transfer plays fundamental roles in information transmission in cells, especially in neurons. To date, direct observation of charge propagation in neurons at nanometer level has not been achieved yet. Herein, a combined charge injection and Electrostatic Force Microscopy (EFM) detection approach is applied to directly study charge propagation and distribution at nanometer resolution in spines and synapses of hippocampal neurons. Charge density, charge mobility and membrane potential in neural signal transmission process through the spines of axons and dendrites of hippocampal neurons were investigated quantitatively. Postsynaptic densities (PSD) in spines of axons and dendrites were revealed and studied. The methods and results from present work provide insights into physiological activities and processes related with electrical properties in nervous system and other biological samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Charge transfer
  • Electrostatic force microscopy
  • Hippocampal neurons
  • Postsynaptic density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation


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