The adsorption of water on etched (001) surfaces of L-, D- and DL-valine crystals has been characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM) using different operational modes (contact, non-contact and electrostatic) above and below the dew point, the temperature at which water vapor from humid air condenses into liquid water at constant atmospheric pressure. The analysis of the images suggests the formation of aggregates of solvated valine molecules that easily diffuse on the hydrophobic terraces only constrained by step barriers of the well-defined chiral parallelepipedic patterns induced by the etching process. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.