European Biophysics Journal

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 249–260 | Cite as

A study of Love wave acoustic biosensors monitoring the adhesion process of tendon stem cells (TSCs)

  • Huiyan Wu
  • Hongfei Zu
  • James H.-C. WangEmail author
  • Qing-Ming WangEmail author
Original Article


The Love wave biosensor is considered to be one of the most promising probing methods in biomedical research and diagnosis, and has been applied to detect the mechano–biological behaviour of cells attached to the surface of the device. More efforts should be devoted to basic theoretical research and relevant device performance analysis that may contribute to the further developments of Love wave sensors. In this study, a 36º YX-LiTaO3-based Love wave sensor with a parylene-C wave guiding layer was adopted as a cell-based biosensor to monitor the adhesion process of tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSCs), a newly discovered cell type in tendons. A theoretical model is proposed to describe the Love wave propagation, in which the adherent cells are considered as a uniform viscoelastic layer. The effects of viscoelastic cell layer and wave guiding layer on the propagation velocity υ and propagation loss (PL) are investigated. The numerical results indicate that adherent cell layers of different storage or loss shear modulus in certain ranges can induce pronounced and characteristic variations in υ and PL, revealing the potential of Love wave sensors to provide useful quantitative measures on cellular mechanical properties. The sensor response to the adhesion of TSCs exhibits high consistency with experimental observations, which demonstrates the Love wave biosensor as a very promising sensor platform for investigating cellular activities under multiple physiological conditions.


Love wave acoustic sensor Biosensor Parylene-C Cell adhesion 



Huiyan Wu thanks Dr. J. Zhang, Dr. T. Yuan, Dr. Y. Zhou, and Dr. G. Zhao for their help during the course of this study. This work is supported in part by the NIH Grant AR060920 and AR061395 (JHW).


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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Swanson School of EngineeringUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of MedicineUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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