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Piezoelectric nanoribbons for monitoring cellular deformations

Nguyen, Thanh D. and Deshmukh, Nikhil and Nagarah, John M. and Kramer, Tal and Purohit, Prashant K. and Berry, Michael J. and McAlpine, Michael C. (2012) Piezoelectric nanoribbons for monitoring cellular deformations. Nature Nanotechnology, 7 (9). pp. 587-593. ISSN 1748-3387.

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Methods for probing mechanical responses of mammalian cells to electrical excitations can improve our understanding of cellular physiology and function. The electrical response of neuronal cells to applied voltages has been studied in detail, but less is known about their mechanical response to electrical excitations. Studies using atomic force microscopes (AFMs) have shown that mammalian cells exhibit voltage-induced mechanical deflections at nanometre scales, but AFM measurements can be invasive and difficult to multiplex. Here we show that mechanical deformations of neuronal cells in response to electrical excitations can be measured using piezoelectric PbZr_xTi_(1-x)O_3 (PZT) nanoribbons, and we find that cells deflect by 1 nm when 120 mV is applied to the cell membrane. The measured cellular forces agree with a theoretical model in which depolarization caused by an applied voltage induces a change in membrane tension, which results in the cell altering its radius so that the pressure remains constant across the membrane. We also transfer arrays of PZT nanoribbons onto a silicone elastomer and measure mechanical deformations on a cow lung that mimics respiration. The PZT nanoribbons offer a minimally invasive and scalable platform for electromechanical biosensing.

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Additional Information:© 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Received 12 March 2012; Accepted 07 June 2012; Published online 15 July 2012. The authors thank N. Verma and N. Yao for useful discussions and advice, and G. Poirier, S. Xu, T. Liu, N.T. Jafferis and X. Xu for their help with technical issues. The authors thank Lynn W. Enquist for contributing reagents. The authors acknowledge use of the PRISM Imaging and Analysis Center, which is supported by the NSF MRSEC Program via the Princeton Center for Complex Materials (no. DMR-0819860). T.K. was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Student Research Fellowship (DGE-0646086). P.K.P acknowledges support from the Army Research Office (no. W911NF-11-1-0494), and M.C.M. acknowledges support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (no. N66001-10-1-2012) and the Army Research Office (no. W911NF-11-1-0397). Author contributions: T.D.N., J.M.N. and M.C.M. devised the studies. T.D.N., N.D., J.M.N., M.J.B. and M.C.M. designed the experiments. T.D.N., N.D. and T.K. performed the experiments. P.K.P. developed the theoretical model. T.D.N., N.D., J.M.N., T.K., P.K.P., M.J.B. and M.C.M. wrote the paper.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Student Research FellowshipDGE-0646086
Army Research Office (ARO)W911NF-11-1-0494
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)N66001-10-1-2012
Army Research Office (ARO)W911NF-11-1-0397
Subject Keywords:Nanomedicine; Nanosensors and other devices
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121105-135734257
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Official Citation:Nguyen, T. D., N. Deshmukh, et al. (2012). "Piezoelectric nanoribbons for monitoring cellular deformations." Nat Nano 7(9): 587-593.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:35285
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Nov 2012 19:44
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 04:26

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