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Local Viscoelasticity of Biopolymer Solutions

  • B. Schnurr (a1), F. Gittes (a1), P. D. Olmsted (a2), C. F. Schmidt (a1) and F. C. Mackintosh (a1)...

Abstract

We describe a new, high-resolution technique for determining the local viscoelastic response of polymer gels on a micrometer scale. This is done by monitoring thermal fluctuations of embedded probe particles. We derive the relationship between the amplitude of fluctuations and the low-frequency storage modulus G′, as well as the relationship between the fluctuation power spectrum, measured between 0.1 Hz and 25kHz, and the complex shear modulus G((ω). For both, semiflexible F-actin solutions and flexible polyacrylamide (PAAm) gels we observe high-frequency power-law dependence in the spectra, which reflects the behavior of the shear modulus. However, we observe distinctly different scaling exponents for G((ω) in F-actin and PAAm gels—presumably due to the semiflexible nature of the actin filaments.

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