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7 February 2007 A novel OCT-based micro-indentation technique for mechanical characterization of soft tissues
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The depth-sensing micro-indentation has been well recognized as a powerful tool for characterizing mechanical properties of solid materials due to its non-destructive approach. Based on the depth-sensing principle, we have developed a new indentation method combined with a high resolution imaging technique, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), which can accurately measure the deformation of soft tissues or hydrogels under a spherical indenter of constant force. The Hertz contact theory has been applied for quantitatively correlating the indentation force and the deformation with the mechanical properties of the materials. The Young's modulus of hydrogels estimated by the new method are comparable with those measured by conventional depth-sensing micro-indentation. The advantages of this new method include its capability to characterize mechanical properties of bulk soft materials and amenability to perform creeping tests. More importantly, the measurement can be performed under sterile condition allowing non-destructive, in-situ and real-time investigations on the changes in mechanical properties of soft materials (e.g. hydrogel). This unique character can be applied for various biomechanical investigations such as monitoring reconstruction of engineered tissue.
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Ying Yang, Pierre O. Bagnaninchi, Mark Ahearne, Ruikang K. Wang, and Kuo-Kang Liu "A novel OCT-based micro-indentation technique for mechanical characterization of soft tissues", Proc. SPIE 6439, Optics in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, 643907 (7 February 2007);

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