Traction force microscopy in physics and biology
Adherent cells, crawling slugs, peeling paint, sessile liquid drops, bearings and many other living and non-living systems apply forces to solid substrates. Traction force microscopy (TFM) provides spatially-resolved measurements of interfacial forces through the quantification and analysis of the deformation of an elastic substrate. Although originally developed for adherent cells, TFM has no inherent size or force scale, and can be applied to a much broader range of mechanical systems across physics and biology. In this paper, we showcase the wide range of applicability of TFM, describe the theory, and provide experimental details and code so that experimentalists can rapidly adopt this powerful technique.