Research Papers: General

Birefringence of a normal human red blood cell and related optomechanics in an optical trap

[+] Author Affiliations
Belavadi Venkatakrishnaiah Nagesh

Bangalore University, Department of Physics, Jnanabharathi, Bangalore 560056, India

M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Department of Physics, M.S.R. Nagara, Bangalore 560054, India

Yogesha

Bangalore University, Department of Physics, Jnanabharathi, Bangalore 560056, India

Ramarao Pratibha

Raman Research Institute, Soft Matter Division, C.V. Raman Avenue, Bangalore 560080, India

Praveen Parthasarathi

Bangalore University, Department of Physics, Jnanabharathi, Bangalore 560056, India

Shruthi Subhash Iyengar

Bangalore University, Department of Physics, Jnanabharathi, Bangalore 560056, India

Sarbari Bhattacharya

Bangalore University, Department of Physics, Jnanabharathi, Bangalore 560056, India

Sharath Ananthamurthy

Bangalore University, Department of Physics, Jnanabharathi, Bangalore 560056, India

J. Biomed. Opt. 19(11), 115004 (Nov 14, 2014). doi:10.1117/1.JBO.19.11.115004
History: Received August 1, 2014; Accepted October 22, 2014
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Abstract.  A normal human red blood cell (RBC) when trapped with a linearly polarized laser, reorients about the electric polarization direction and then remains rotationally bound to this direction. This behavior is expected for a birefringent object. We have measured the birefringence of distortion-free RBCs in an isotonic medium using a polarizing microscope. The birefringence is confined to the cell’s dimple region and the slow axis is along a diameter. We report an average retardation of 3.5±1.5nm for linearly polarized green light (λ=546nm). We also estimate a retardation of 1.87±0.09nm from the optomechanical response of the RBC in an optical trap. We reason that the birefringence is a property of the cell membrane and propose a simple model attributing the origin of birefringence to the phospholipid molecules in the lipid bilayer and the variation to the membrane curvature. We observe that RBCs reconstituted in shape subsequent to crenation show diminished birefringence along with a sluggish optomechanical response in a trap. As the arrangement of phospholipid molecules in the cell membrane is disrupted on crenation, this lends credence to our conjecture on the origin of birefringence. Dependence of the birefringence on membrane contours is further illustrated through studies on chicken RBCs.

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© 2014 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Belavadi Venkatakrishnaiah Nagesh ; Yogesha ; Ramarao Pratibha ; Praveen Parthasarathi ; Shruthi Subhash Iyengar, et al.
"Birefringence of a normal human red blood cell and related optomechanics in an optical trap", J. Biomed. Opt. 19(11), 115004 (Nov 14, 2014). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.19.11.115004


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