Determination of cell properties from single and multi-layered cell models

Tribikram Kundu, Christopher Blase, Jürgen Bereiter-Hahn

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Among the methods for the determination of mechanical properties of living cells acoustic microscopy provides some extraordinary advantages. It is relatively fast, of excellent spatial resolution and of minimal invasiveness. Sound velocity is a measure of the stiffness of the cell. Attenuation of cytoplasm is a measure of supramolecular interactions. These parameters are of crucial interest for studies of cell motility, volume regulations and to establish the functional role of the various elements of the cytoskeleton. Using a phase and amplitude sensitive scanning acoustic microscope, longitudinal wave speed, attenuation and thickness profile of a biological cell have been measured earlier by Kundu, Bereiter-Hahn and Karl1 (2000) from the voltage versus frequency or V(f) curves in the frequency range 980-1100 MHz. Two limitations of that study are overcome in this paper. In that study it was assumed that the cell properties did not change through the cell thickness and could vary only in the lateral direction. Secondly, the acoustic microscope generated ultrasonic signal was modeled in that study as a plane wave striking the cell and the substrate at normal incidence. Such assumption ignores the contribution of the surface skimming Rayleigh waves. Improved and more generalized analysis that is presented here avoids such restrictive assumptions. For the first time, in this paper the cell is modeled as a multi-layered material with different properties for nucleus and surrounding cell material. The inverse problem is solved to study the effect of drugs on living cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number07
Pages (from-to)44-54
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2005
EventHealth Monitoring and Smart Nondestructive Evaluation of Structural and Biological Systems IV - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 7 2005Mar 9 2005


  • Acoustical properties of cell
  • Cell mechanics
  • Mechanical properties of cell
  • Scanning acoustic microscopy
  • V(f) curve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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