On-demand weighing of single dry biological particles over a 5-order-of-magnitude dynamic range
We report a simple and highly versatile system to select and weigh individual dry biological particles. The system is composed of a microtweezer to pick and place individual particles and a cantilever-based resonator to weigh them. The system can weigh entities that vary from a red blood cell (~10−11 g) to the eye–brain complex of an insect (~10−6 g), covering a 5-order-of-magnitude mass range. Due to its versatility and ease of use, this weighing method is highly compatible with established laboratory practices. The system can provide complementary mass information for a wide variety of individual particles imaged using scanning electron microscopy and determine comparative weights of individual biological entities that are attached to microparticles as well as weigh fractions of individual biological entities that have been subjected to focused ion beam milling.