New Optomechanical Fluidic Sensor Analyzes Cell Mechanics in the Human Body and May Provide Clinical Laboratories with Useful New Diagnostic Tool

Researchers believe newly developed optomechanical technology might eventually be used by medical laboratories

Pathologists and medical laboratory scientists have long been aware of the parallel between cancer and the mechanical properties located in cells. However, a diagnostic tool to assess these properties has until now been unavailable. This may soon change.

A team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) recently created a technique involving “OptoMechanoFluidics” that might increase understanding of how diseases reshape the mechanical attributes of cells in the human body. The researchers’ innovative opto-mechano-fluidic approach could provide a new way to study how human cells congregate in tissue and bones by examining high-speed photonic sensing of free-flowing particles in the body at rates potentially reaching 10,000 particles per second.

The researchers published their findings in Optica, the online journal of the Optical Society (OSA). Gaurav Bahl, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Science and Engineering at UIUC, was one of the authors of the study. (See Optica, “High-throughput sensing of freely flowing particles with optomechanofluidics,” Vol. 3, Issue 6, pp. 585-591, 2016.) (more…)