Multiscale Microrheology Using Fluctuating Filaments as Stealth Probes.
The mechanical properties of soft materials can be probed on small length scales by microrheology. A common approach tracks fluctuations of micrometer-sized beads embedded in the medium to be characterized. This approach yields results that depend on probe size when the medium has structure on comparable length scales. Here, we introduce filament-based microrheology using high-aspect-ratio semiflexible filaments as probes. Such quasi-1D probes are much less invasive than beads due to their small cross sections. Moreover, by imaging transverse bending modes, we simultaneously determine the micromechanical response of the medium on multiple length scales corresponding to the mode wavelengths. We use semiflexible single-walled carbon nanotubes as probes that can be accurately and rapidly imaged based on their stable near-IR fluorescence. We find that the viscoelastic properties of sucrose, polyethylene oxide, and hyaluronic acid solutions measured in this way are in good agreement with those measured by conventional micro- and macrorheology.
Nishi, K; MacKintosh, FC; Schmidt, CF
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