Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Anal Chem. 2018 doi:10.1021/acs.analchem.8b02153.


Esfahani et al. 1-23


We previously reported the finding of a linear correlation between the change of energy dissipation (ΔD) of adhered cells measured with the quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) and the level of focal adhesions of the cells. To account for this correlation, we have developed a theoretical framework for assessing the ΔD-response of adhered cells. We rationalized that the mechanical energy of an oscillating QCM-D sensor coupled with a cell monolayer is dissipated through three main processes: the interfacial friction through the dynamic restructuring (formation and rupture) of cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) bonds, the interfacial viscous damping by the liquid trapped between the QCM-D sensor and the basal membrane of the cell layer, and the intracellular viscous damping through the viscous slip between the cytoplasm and stress fibers as well as among stress fibers themselves. Our modeling study shows that the interfacial viscous damping by the trapped liquid is the primary process for energy dissipation during the early stage of the cell adhesion, whereas the dynamic restructuring of cell-ECM bonds becomes more prevalent during the later stage of the cell adhesion. Our modeling study also establishes a positive linear correlation between the ΔD-response and the level of cell adhesion quantified with the number of cell-ECM bonds, which corroborates our previous experimental finding. This correlation with a wide well-defined linear dynamic range provides a much needed theoretical validation of the dissipation monitoring function of the QCM-D as a powerful quantitative analytical tool for cell study.