Long-term imaging of cellular forces with high precision by elastic resonator interference stress microscopy

Nature Cell Biology 19, 864–872

Nils M. Kronenberg, Philipp Liehm, Anja Steude, Johanna A. Knipper, Jessica G. Borger, Giuliano Scarcelli, Kristian Franze, Simon J. Powis & Malte C. Gather (2017)

This publication presents a novel, robust, and exceptionally precise microscopy method that creates images of the minute forces living cells apply as they grow, divide and migrate. The so-called elastic resonator interference stress microscopy (ERISM) analyzes interference patterns to measure the deformation of an optical micro-cavity that consists of a soft elastomer sandwiched between two gold layers.

In this study, a Nanosurf Flex-Bio system was used to perform indentation and lateral force measurements in order to determine the elastic properties of the micro-cavities, enabling the authors to calculate stress maps and the exerted cellular force from the displacement map.