Abstract

At low frequencies ultrasound is a valuable tool to mechanically characterize and image biological tissues. There is much interest in using high-frequency ultrasound to investigate single cells. Mechanical characterization of vegetal and biological cells by measurement of Brillouin oscillations has been demonstrated using ultrasound in the GHz range. This paper presents a method to extend this technique from the previously reported single-point measurements and line scans into a high-resolution acoustic imaging tool. Our technique uses a three-layered metal-dielectric-metal film as a transducer to launch acoustic waves into the cell we want to study. The design of this transducer and measuring system is optimized to overcome the vulnerability of a cell to the exposure of laser light and heat without sacrificing the signal-to-noise ratio. The transducer substrate shields the cell from the laser radiation, efficiently generates acoustic waves, facilitates optical detection in transmission, and aids with heat dissipation away from the cell. This paper discusses the design of the transducers and instrumentation and presents Brillouin frequency images on phantom, fixed, and living cells.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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