Abstract

The optical stretcher is a dual-beam trap capable of stretching individual cells. Previous studies have used either ray- or wave-optical models to compute the optical pressure on the surface of a spherical cell. We have extended the ray-optics model to account for focusing by the spherical interface and the effects of multiple internal reflections. Simulation results for red-blood cells (RBCs) show that internal reflections can lead to significant perturbation of the deformation, leading to a systematic error in the determination of cellular elasticity. Calibration studies show excellent agreement between the predicted and measured escape force, and RBC stiffness measurements are consistent with literature values. Measurements of the elasticity of murine osteogenic cells reveal that these cells are approximately 5.4 times stiffer than RBCs.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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