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High spatial and temporal resolution measurement of mechanical properties in hydrogels by non-contact laser excitation
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Gels have received increased attention as potential materials for biological materials because they can exhibit similar mechanical properties. One obstacle for using gels is that their mechanical properties are significantly altered by defects, such as an inhomogeneous crosslink density distribution. If these defects could be detected and the values and spatial distributions of mechanical properties in the gel could be determined, it would be possible to apply gels for several fields. To achieve the high spatial and temporal resolution measurement of mechanical properties in hydrogels, in our method, a conventional contact excitation device is replaced with a non-contact excitation using laser ablation for the input and magnetic resonance elastography to measure stress waves is replaced with the Schlieren method with a high-speed camera. Magnetic resonance elastography is a local measurement technique, and consequently, requires a lot of time to characterize a sample, as well as does not have sufficient spatial resolution to obtain a broad range of elasticity coefficients of gels. We use laser ablation to apply non-contact impulse excitations to gels to generate stress waves inside them. We can determine mechanical properties of gels using the stress waves’ propagation velocity.
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