Optomechanical measurement of the stiffness of single adherent cells†
Recent advances in mechanobiology have accumulated strong evidence showing close correlations between the physiological conditions and mechanical properties of cells. In this paper, a novel optomechanical technique to characterize the stiffness of single adherent cells attached on a substrate is reported. The oscillation in a cell's height on a vertically vibrating reflective substrate is measured with a laser Doppler vibrometer as apparent changes in the phase of the measured velocity. This apparent phase shift and the height oscillation are shown to be affected by the mechanical properties of human colorectal adenocarcinoma cells (HT-29). The reported optomechanical technique can provide high-throughput stiffness measurement of single adherent cells over time with minimal perturbation.