We present an experimental method including error analysis for the measurement of the density and compressibility of cells and microbeads; these being the two central material properties in ultrasound-based acoustophoretic applications such as particle separation, trapping, and up concentration. The density of the microparticles is determined by using a neutrally buoyant selection process that involves centrifuging of microparticles suspended in different density solutions, CsCl for microbeads and Percoll for cells. The speed of sound at 3 MHz in the neutrally buoyant suspensions is measured as a function of the microparticle volume fraction, and from this the compressibility of the microparticles is inferred. Finally, from the obtained compressibility and density, the acoustic scattering coefficients and contrast factor of the microparticles are determined, and in a sensitivity analysis, the impact of the measurement errors on the computed acoustic properties is reported. The determination of these parameters and their uncertainties allow for accurate predictions of the acoustophoretic response of the microparticles. The method is validated by determining the density (0.1-1% relative uncertainty) and compressibility (1-3% relative uncertainty) of previously well characterized polymer microbeads and subsequently applied to determine the density (0.1-1% relative uncertainty), compressibility (1% relative uncertainty), scattering coefficients, and acoustic contrast factors for nonfixed and fixed cells, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, DU-145 prostate cancer cells, MCF-7 breast cancer cells, and LU-HNSCC-25 head and-neck squamous carcinoma cells in phosphate buffered saline. The results show agreement with published data obtained by other methods.
Cushing, K. W., Garofalo, F., Magnusson, C., Ekblad, L., Bruus, H., & Laurell, T. (2017). Ultrasound Characterization of Microbead and Cell Suspensions by Speed of Sound Measurements of Neutrally Buoyant Samples. Analytical chemistry, 89(17), 8917-8923. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.7b01388