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Simultaneous Nanorheometry and Nanothermometry Using Intracellular Diamond Quantum Sensors.

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Gu, Qiushi 
Hart, Jack W 
Shofer, Noah 


The viscoelasticity of the cytoplasm plays a critical role in cell morphology, cell division, and intracellular transport. Viscoelasticity is also interconnected with other biophysical properties, such as temperature, which is known to influence cellular bioenergetics. Probing the connections between intracellular temperature and cytoplasmic viscoelasticity provides an exciting opportunity for the study of biological phenomena, such as metabolism and disease progression. The small length scales and transient nature of changes in these parameters combined with their complex interdependencies pose a challenge for biosensing tools, which are often limited to a single readout modality. Here, we present a dual-mode quantum sensor capable of performing simultaneous nanoscale thermometry and rheometry in dynamic cellular environments. We use nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond nanocrystals as biocompatible sensors for in vitro measurements. We combine subdiffraction resolution single-particle tracking in a fluidic environment with optically detected magnetic resonance spectroscopy to perform simultaneous sensing of viscoelasticity and temperature. We use our sensor to demonstrate probing of the temperature-dependent viscoelasticity in complex media at the nanoscale. We then investigate the interplay between intracellular forces and the cytoplasmic rheology in live cells. Finally, we identify different rheological regimes and reveal evidence of active trafficking and details of the nanoscale viscoelasticity of the cytoplasm.


Publication status: Published


biosensing, nanodiamond, nitrogen-vacancy center, quantum sensing, rheometry, single particle tracking, thermometry, Diamond, Nanoparticles, Temperature, Thermometry, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

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ACS Nano

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American Chemical Society (ACS)
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF7872)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/R513180/1)
Royal Society (URF\R1\191194)
University of Cambridge (NA)
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (NA)
Cambridge Commonwealth Trust (NA)
Cambridge Trust (NA)
China Scholarship Council (NA)
Cambridge Centre for Physical Biology, Cambridge University (NA)