Scanning Microscopy


Human enamel features from individual crystals up to prisms were observed by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Low magnification images of vestibular tooth surfaces show the existence of enamel prisms appearing as deep holes. Individual, parallel enamel crystals show lateral faces elongated and formed by the (100) planes of hydroxyapatite (HA). Height differences between (001) faces create the roughness of enamel surface. Individual (001) crystal faces can be observed clearly at higher magnification and show the characteristic hexagonal shape with 60° angles between (100) faces. This study confirms the applicability of AFM for studying biological hydroxyapatite crystals.

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