Mechanical forces are key to the structure, dynamics, and interactions of living systems. In the last two decades, Brillouin Microscopy (BM) has emerged as a non-invasive optical tool for the mechanical characterisation of biomatter at GHz frequencies and on a microscale. Viscous and elastic properties of biosamples in this spatio-temporal regime are effectively an uncharted territory that is important for the potential impact on function and physiology.
Since its inception, BM has been applied to address a myriad of biological and medical questions and has shown key capabilities for cell mechanobiology and tissue histopathology. Our team has developed and applied BM to study tissue mechanics and revealed the ability of BM to map the acoustic anisotropy of extracellular matrix proteins in isolated fibres and tissue biopsies. For these studies, we have introduced the correlative Brillouin–Raman method as a chemical-specific mechanical probe of biosamples.