A technique and apparatus that can measure the mechanical properties of any kind of soft material, including complex fluids, living embryonic and adult tissues (such as skin), as well as tumors.
Current methodologies to measure the mechanical (material) properties of soft materials do not allow local and/or spatiotemporal measurements of the material properties at different length scales. These limitations are particularly relevant for biological samples, from single cells to embryonic tissues and disease processes (such as cancer), which change in space and time. Also, in the case of soft materials, such as complex fluids (emulsions, foams, polymer melts, etc.), no single technique allows the measurement of their mechanics at different length scales as well as spatially and temporally. The technique described below overcomes all of these limitations.
UC Santa Barbara researchers have developed a technique and apparatus that can measure the mechanical properties of any kind of soft material, including complex fluids, living embryonic and adult tissues (such as skin), as well as tumors. The apparatus applies controlled forces and measures mechanical properties of a large variety of samples by detecting the shape dynamics of a biocompatible ferrofluid drop in the presence of controlled magnetic fields (Figure 1). The technique allows for the measurement of mechanics along any spatial direction (mechanical anisotropy) and any length scale ranging from 1 micrometer to several millimeters. Also, it can perform simultaneous measurements at different locations of the sample, even if the sample is changing over time, providing a spatiotemporal map of the local mechanical properties of the material. For biological applications, it allows measurements at the subcellular, cellular and larger tissue scales, all in situ and in vivo. It is also compatible with fluorescent and other optical microscopy.
Figure 1: Scheme to apply forces using ferrofluid droplets in a magnetic field.
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Publication Link: http://www.nature.com/
|United States Of America||Issued Patent||10,149,630||12/11/2018||2015-300|
ferrofluidic, magnetic forces, stem cell, diagnostics, indansens