Continuous depth-sensing nano-mechanical characterization of living, fixed and dehydrated cells attached on a glass substrate

Yun Ta Yang, Chou Ching K. Lin, Jiunn Der Liao, Chia Wei Chang, Ming Shaung Ju

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5 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number285704
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jul 7

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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