Robotic cell manipulation with optical tweezers for biomechanical characterization

Youhua Tan, Dong Sun, Shuk Han Cheng, Ronald A. Li

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we demonstrate the effectiveness of robotic cell stretching with optical tweezers for biomechanical characterization. Optical traps serve as end-effectors to manipulate micro-beads attached to the cell surface. The dynamics of the cell-bead mixture during cell stretching is investigated for the first time. Based on our previous work, cell stiffness is extracted and biomechanical properties of cells can be characterized. Our study shows that the modeling results agree with the experimental data. Further, the area compressibility moduli of two types of cells, human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and hESC-derived cardiomyocytes (hESC-CM), are characterized. The results indicate that undifferentiated stem cells are much softer than differentiated ones, which provides an important insight into the cell mechanics during hESC differentiation. In summary, this paper successfully demonstrates that the robot-tweezer system can manipulate biological cells effectively to characterize biomechanical properties of living cells.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2011
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2011 - Shanghai, China
Duration: 9 May 201113 May 2011


Conference2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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