Based on SmarActs SLC-17 series linear positioners on an inverted microscope
The Cellular Force Microscope
The Cellular force microscopy (CFM) is a form of scanning probe microscopy that is similar to Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), but operates with much larger forces and displacements. This makes is suitable to measure the high forces encountered in plant cells because of their stiff cell wall and high turgor pressure. It uses the SLC-series SmarAct linear actuators, typically arranged in an 3-axis XYZ configuration, and controlled by a Linux computer using the MorphoRobotX software (open source Linux software). The actuator is mounted on an inverted microscope, and a force sensing probe is used to indent the sample. The system takes advantage of the dual motion control available with the SmarAct stages, the stick-slip mode for large movements to position the probe, followed by the smooth scanning mode of the piezo that is used to make the force measurements. In addition to tissue and cell stiffness measurements, the system can be be used for precise mechano-stimulation or cell ablation with force feedback.
Using CFM on the sepal of Arabidopsis. Left) A confocal image scan of the sepal. Right) A surface mesh obtained by scanning the same, with the sample stiffness measured on selected points on the tops of the cells. Data from Mosca et al. 2017.