Optoelectronic tweezers for the measurement of the relative stiffness of erythrocytes

Neale, S.L. , Mody, N., Selman, C., Cooper, J.M. and Spalding, G.C. (2012) Optoelectronic tweezers for the measurement of the relative stiffness of erythrocytes. In: Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation IX, San Diego, CA, USA, 12 Aug 2012, p. 845827.

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.928839


In this paper we describe the first use of Optoelectronic Tweezers (OET), an optically controlled micromanipulation method, to measure the relative stiffness of erythrocytes in mice. Cell stiffness is an important measure of cell health and in the case of erythrocytes, the most elastic cells in the body, an increase in cell stiffness can indicate pathologies such as type II diabetes mellitus or hypertension (high blood pressure). OET uses a photoconductive device to convert an optical pattern into and electrical pattern. The electrical fields will create a dipole within any polarisable particles in the device, such as cells, and non-uniformities of the field can be used to place unequal forces onto each side of the dipole thus moving the particle. In areas of the device where there are no field gradients, areas of constant illumination, the force on each side of the dipole will be equal, keeping the cell stationary, but as there are opposing forces on each side of the cell it will be stretched. The force each cell will experience will differ slightly so the stretching will depend on the cells polarisability as well as its stiffness. Because of this a relative stiffness rather than absolute stiffness is measured. We show that with standard conditions (20Vpp, 1.5MHz, 10mSm-1 medium conductivity) the cell’s diameter changes by around 10% for healthy mouse erythrocytes and we show that due to the low light intensities required for OET, relative to conventional optical tweezers, multiple cells can be measured simultaneously.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Neale, Dr Steven and Cooper, Professor Jonathan
Authors: Neale, S.L., Mody, N., Selman, C., Cooper, J.M., and Spalding, G.C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering

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