Many recent studies on the viscoelasticity of individual cells link mechanics with cellular function and health. Here, we introduce a measurement of the viscoelastic properties of individual human colon cancer cells (HT-29) using silicon pedestal microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) resonant sensors. We demonstrate that the viscoelastic properties of single adherent cells can be extracted by measuring a difference in vibrational amplitude of our resonant sensor platform. The magnitude of vibration of the pedestal sensor is measured using a laser Doppler vibrometer (LDV). A change in amplitude of the sensor, compared with the driving amplitude (amplitude ratio), is influenced by the mechanical properties of the adhered cells. The amplitude ratio of the fixed cells was greater than the live cells, with a p-value <0.0001. By combining the amplitude shift with the resonant frequency shift measure, we determined the elastic modulus and viscosity values of 100 Pa and 0.0031 Pa s, respectively. Our method using the change in amplitude of resonant MEMS devices can enable the determination of a refined solution space and could improve measuring the stiffness of cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number093701
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Feb 29 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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