Quantifying Elastic Properties of Environmental Biofilms using Optical Coherence Elastography

Evan Dieppa, Hannah Schmitz, Ziwei Wang, Fabrizio Sabba, George Wells, Oluwaseyi Balogun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biofilms are complex biomaterials comprising a well-organized network of microbial cells encased in self-produced extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). This paper presents a detailed account of the implementation of optical coherence elastography (OCE) measurements tailored for the elastic characterization of biofilms. OCE is a non-destructive optical technique that enables the local mapping of the microstructure, morphology, and viscoelastic properties of partially transparent soft materials with high spatial and temporal resolution. We provide a comprehensive guide detailing the essential procedures for the correct implementation of this technique, along with a methodology to estimate the bulk Young's modulus of granular biofilms from the collected measurements. These consist of the system setup, data acquisition, and postprocessing. In the discussion, we delve into the underlying physics of the sensors used in OCE and explore the fundamental limitations regarding the spatial and temporal scales of OCE measurements. We conclude with potential future directions for advancing the OCE technique to facilitate elastic measurements of environmental biofilms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere66118
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number205
StatePublished - Mar 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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