The availability of a real-time non-destructive modality to interrogate the mechanical properties of viscoelastic materials would facilitate many new investigations. We introduce a new optical method for measuring elastic properties of samples which employs magnetite nanoparticles as perturbative agents. Magnetic nanoparticles distributed in silicone-based samples are displaced upon probing with a small external magnetic field gradient and depth-resolved optical coherence phase shifts allow for the tracking of scatterers in the sample with nanometer-scale sensitivity. The scatterers undergo underdamped oscillations when the magnetic field is applied step-wise, allowing for the measurement of the natural frequencies of oscillation of the samples. Validation of the measurements is accomplished using a commercial indentation apparatus to determine the elastic moduli of the samples. This real-time non-destructive technique constitutes a novel way of probing the natural frequencies of viscoelastic materials in which magnetic nanoparticles can be introduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23114-23122
Number of pages9
JournalOptics Express
Issue number25
StatePublished - Dec 7 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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