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Ziemann, F.; Rädler, Joachim O. and Sackmann, E. (June 1994): Local measurements of viscoelastic moduli of entangled actin networks using an oscillating magnetic bead micro-rheometer. In: Biophysical Journal, No. 66: pp. 2210-2216 [PDF, 1MB]

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A magnetically driven bead micro-rheometer for local quantitative measurements of the viscoelastic moduli in soft macromolecular networks such as an entangled F-actin solution is described. The viscoelastic response of paramagnetic latex beads to external magnetic forces is analyzed by optical particle tracking and fast image processing. Several modes of operation are possible, including analysis of bead motion after pulse-like or oscillatory excitations, or after application of a constant force. The frequency dependencies of the storage modulus, G'(omega), and the loss modulus, G''(omega), were measured for frequencies from 10(-1) Hz to 5 Hz. For low actin concentrations (mesh sizes epsilon > 0.1 micron) we found that both G'(omega) and G''(omega) scale with omega 1/2. This scaling law and the absolute values of G' and G'' agree with conventional rheological measurements, demonstrating that the magnetic bead micro-rheometer allows quantitative measurements of the viscoelastic moduli. Local variations of the viscoelastic moduli (and thus of the network density and mesh size) can be probed in several ways: 1) by measurement of G' and G'' at different sites within the network; 2) by the simultaneous analysis of several embedded beads; and 3) by evaluation of the bead trajectories over macroscopic distances. The latter mode yields absolute values and local fluctuations of the apparent viscosity eta(x) of the network.

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