Using gold nanorods to probe cell-induced collagen deformation

John W. Stone, Patrick N. Sisco, Edie C. Goldsmith, Sarah C. Baxter, Catherine J. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In biological tissue, complex mechanisms of cellular response are closely linked to the mechanical environment that cells experience. The key to understanding these mechanisms may lie in measurement of local mechanical fields near living cells and between cells. We have developed a novel optical measurement technique which combines the light elastically scattered from gold nanorods with digital image analysis to track local deformations that occur in vitro between cells, in real time, under darkfield optical microscopy. We find that measurable tension and compression exist in the intercellular matrix at the length scale of micrometers, as the cells assess, adapt, and rearrange their environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-119
Number of pages4
JournalNano letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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