Optical and ultrasound techniques for probing and modulating the nano-mechanical properties of live cells

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The means to study and understand the mechanical properties of a cell have been of interest for many decades, particularly because they are closely linked to cell viability and function. To date, the characterisation of live cells in culture is done using conventional biological analysis techniques. These techniques are either destructive or involve modification of the cells.

In this research, optical tweezers have been used as a tool to trap and manipulate small objects without destructing them. The main aim of this study is to use optical tweezers and optical approaches to study the mechanical properties of live cells. We are looking to work with red blood cells in the long run, but at the moment, we have been working and experimenting on liposomes as model cells.