Materials Science

Biofunctional Magnetic Tweezers

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Science  13 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5515, pp. 171
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5515.171e

The viscoelastic properties of cells and intracellular transport forces have been studied with micrometer-sized transducers that can handle relatively large forces (tens of nanonewtons). Abdelghani-Jacquin et al. have made magnetic cobalt and iron particles more cell-friendly by plating them with gold in a spontaneous electrodeless reaction to produce a uniform coating. Using thiol chemistry, they then functionalized the particles either by attaching biomolecules directly or by adding a polymer cushion formed of polysaccharides. These beads were used as magnetic tweezers to characterize the local viscoelastic properties of a soft biopolymer film, which showed a purely elastic response when a pulsed magnetic force was applied. They also measured the lateral stiffness, which is related to the shear elastic modulus. — MSL

Langmuir17, 2129 (2001).

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