Viscoelastic mapping of cells based on fast force volume and PeakForce Tapping
Development of fast force volume (FFV), PeakForce Tapping (PFT), and related AFM techniques allow fast acquisition and mapping of a sample's mechanical properties. The methods are well-suited for studying soft biological samples like living cells in a liquid environment. However, the question remains how the measured mechanical properties are related to those acquired with the classical force volume (FV) technique conducted at low indentation rates. The difference is coming mostly from the pronounced viscoelastic behavior of cells, making apparent elastic parameters depending on the probing rate. Here, the viscoelastic analysis was applied directly to the force curves acquired with force volume or PeakForce Tapping by their post-processing based on the Ting's model. Maps from classical force volume, FFV and PFT obtained using special PFT cantilevers and cantilevers modified with microspheres were compared here. With the correct viscoelastic model, which was found to be the power-law rheology model, all the techniques have provided self-consistent results. The techniques were further modified for the mapping of the viscoelastic model-independent complex Young's modulus.