4 March 2013 A photoacoustic technique to measure the properties of single cells
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Abstract
We demonstrate a new technique to non-invasively determine the diameter and sound speed of single cells using a combined ultrasonic and photoacoustic technique. Two cell lines, B16-F1 melanoma cells and MCF7 breast cancer cells were examined using this technique. Using a 200 MHz transducer, the ultrasound backscatter from a single cell in suspension was recorded. Immediately following, the cell was irradiated with a 532 nm laser and the resulting photoacoustic wave recorded by the same transducer. The melanoma cells contain optically absorbing melanin particles, which facilitated photoacoustic wave generation. MCF7 cells have negligible optical absorption at 532 nm; the cells were permeabilized and stained with trypan blue prior to measurements. The measured ultrasound and photoacoustic power spectra were compared to theoretical equations with the cell diameter and sound speed as variables (Anderson scattering model for ultrasound, and a thermoelastic expansion model for photoacoustics). The diameter and sound speed were extracted from the models where the spectral shape matched the measured signals. However the photoacoustic spectrum for the melanoma cell did not match theory, which is likely because melanin particles are located around the cytoplasm, and not within the nucleus. Therefore a photoacoustic finite element model of a cell was developed where the central region was not used to generate a photoacoustic wave. The resulting power spectrum was in better agreement with the measured signal than the thermoelastic expansion model. The MCF7 cell diameter obtained using the spectral matching method was 17.5 μm, similar to the optical measurement of 16 μm, while the melanoma cell diameter obtained was 22 μm, similar to the optical measurement of 21 μm. The sound speed measured from the MCF7 and melanoma cell was 1573 and 1560 m/s, respectively, which is within acceptable values that have been published in literature.
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Eric M. Strohm, Elizabeth S. L. Berndl, Michael C. Kolios, "A photoacoustic technique to measure the properties of single cells", Proc. SPIE 8581, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2013, 85814D (4 March 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2005975; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2005975
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