Brillouin Spectroscopy: A Probe Of Tissue Micromechanics

Many problems in mechanobiology urgently require the characterization of the micromechanical properties of cells and tissues. Brillouin spectroscopy (light scattering) has been proposed as an emerging optical elastography technique to meet this need. However, the information contained in the Brillouin spectrum is still a matter of debate because of fundamental problems in understanding the role of water in biomechanics and in relating the Brillouin data to low-frequency macroscopic mechanical parameters.

Here, researchers investigate this question using gelatin as a model system in which the macroscopic physical properties can be manipulated to mimic all the relevant biological states of matter, ranging from the liquid to the gel and the glassy phase.

The researchers demonstrate that Brillouin spectroscopy is able to reveal both the elastic and viscous properties of biopolymers that are central to the structure and function of biological tissues.

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