We report a novel optical-tweezers-based method to study the membrane motion at the leading edge of biological cells with nanometer spatial and microsecond temporal resolution. A diffraction-limited laser spot was positioned at the leading edge of a cell, and the forward scattered light was imaged on a quadrant photodiode that served as a position sensitive device. The universality of this technique is demonstrated with different cell types. We investigated the membrane motion at the leading edge of red blood cells in detail and showed that this technique can achieve simultaneous manipulation and detection of cellular edge dynamics with unprecedented precision.
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