Nanosensors for single cell mechanical interrogation

Xinxin Hang, Shiqi He, Zaizai Dong, Grayson Minnick, Jordan Rosenbohm, Zhou Chen, Ruiguo Yang, Lingqian Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The occurrence and development of many diseases are accompanied and sometimes dictated by the destruction of biomechanical homeostasis. For instance, cancer cells and normal cells show different cellular mechanical forces phenotypes, as the proliferation and invasion ability of cancer cells is often related to the changes in mechanical force in the tumor. With single cell analysis, variations in mechanics within a cell population can be detected and analyzed, opening new dimensions in the study of cancer. Nanosensor design for interrogation of cell mechanics is an interdisciplinary area bridging over cell biology, mechanics, and micro/nanotechnology. In this tutorial review, we give insight into the background and technical innovation of currently available methods for mechanical analysis of cells. First, we discuss the mechanism of mechanical changes in the development and progression of cancer that shows the feasibility of mechanical sensors in cancer cell detection. Next, we summarize the principle, progress, and essential problems of common technologies for cell force measurement, including single molecule force spectroscopy and elastic substrate-sensors. Following that, we discuss novel micro and nano-scale mechanical sensors and their applications in single cell level biological analysis. At last, we elaborate on the remaining issues and trends of the cellular mechanical sensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113086
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • Cell mechanics
  • DNA hairpin
  • FRET
  • Force sensors
  • Tension gauge tether

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Nanosensors for single cell mechanical interrogation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this