Quantifying cell adhesion through forces generated by acoustic streaming

Chikahiro Imashiro, Jiyang Mei, James Friend, Kenjiro Takemura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The strength of cell adhesion is important in understanding the cell's health and in culturing them. Quantitative measurement of cell adhesion strength is a significant challenge in bioengineering research. For this, the present study describes a system that can measure cell adhesion strength using acoustic streaming induced by Lamb waves. Cells are cultured on an ultrasound transducer using a range of preculture and incubation times with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) just before the measurement. Acoustic streaming is then induced using several Lamb wave intensities, exposing the cells to shear flows and eventually detaching them. By relying upon a median detachment rate of 50 %, the corresponding detachment force, or force of cell adhesion, was determined to be on the order of several nN, consistent with previous reports. The stronger the induced shear flow, the more cells were detached. Further, we employed a preculture time of 8 to 24 h and a PBS incubation time of 0 to 60 min, producing cell adhesion forces that varied from 1.2 to 13 nN. Hence, the developed system can quantify cell adhesion strength over a wide range, possibly offering a fundamental tool for cell-based bioengineering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106204
JournalUltrasonics Sonochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Nov


  • Acoustic streaming
  • Cell adhesion
  • Cell detachment
  • Lab on a chip
  • Lamb wave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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