Abstract The potentialities of the atomic force microscopy (AFM) make it a tool of undeniable value for the study of biologically relevant samples. AFM is progressively becoming a usual benchtop technique. In average, more than one paper is published every day on AFM biological applications. This figure overcomes materials science applications, showing that 17 years after its invention, AFM has completely crossed the limits of its traditional areas of application. Its potential to image the structure of biomolecules or bio-surfaces with molecular or even sub-molecular resolution, study samples under physiological conditions (which allows to follow in situ the real time dynamics of some biological events), measure local chemical, physical and mechanical properties of a sample and manipulate single molecules should be emphasized.