Continuous depth-sensing nano-indentation on living, fixed and dehydrated fibroblast cells was performed using a dynamic contact module and vertically measured from a pre-contact state to the glass substrate. The nano-indentation tip-on-cell approaches took advantage of finding a contact surface, followed by obtaining a continuous nano-mechanical profile along the nano-indentation depths. In the experiment, serial indentations from the leading edge, i.e., the lamellipodium to nucleus regions of living, fixed and dehydrated fibroblast cells were examined. Nano-indentations on a living cell anchored upon glass substrate were competent in finding the tip-on-cell contact surfaces and cell heights. For the result on the fixed and the dehydrated cells, cellular nano-mechanical properties were clearly characterized by continuous harmonic contact stiffness(HCS) measurements. The relations of HCS versus measured displacement, varied from the initial tip-on-cell contact to the glass substrate, were presumably divided into three stages, respectively induced by cellular intrinsic behavior, the substrate-dominant property, and the substrate property. This manifestation is beneficial to elucidate how the underlying substrate influences the interpretation of the nano-mechanical property of thin soft matter on a hard substrate. These findings, based upon continuous depth-sensing nano-indentations, are presumably valuable as a reference to related work, e.g., accomplished by atomic force microscopy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering