Recent progress and current opinions in Brillouin microscopy for life science applications

Giuseppe Antonacci, Timon Beck, Alberto Bilenca, Jürgen Czarske, Kareem Elsayad, Jochen Guck, Kyoohyun Kim, Benedikt Krug, Francesca Palombo, Robert Prevedel, Giuliano Scarcelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Many important biological functions and processes are reflected in cell and tissue mechanical properties such as elasticity and viscosity. However, current techniques used for measuring these properties have major limitations, such as that they can often not measure inside intact cells and/or require physical contact—which cells can react to and change. Brillouin light scattering offers the ability to measure mechanical properties in a non-contact and label-free manner inside of objects with high spatial resolution using light, and hence has emerged as an attractive method during the past decade. This new approach, coined “Brillouin microscopy,” which integrates highly interdisciplinary concepts from physics, engineering, and mechanobiology, has led to a vibrant new community that has organized itself via a European funded (COST Action) network. Here we share our current assessment and opinion of the field, as emerged from a recent dedicated workshop. In particular, we discuss the prospects towards improved and more bio-compatible instrumentation, novel strategies to infer more accurate and quantitative mechanical measurements, as well as our current view on the biomechanical interpretation of the Brillouin spectra.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-624
Number of pages10
JournalBiophysical Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Biomechanics
  • Brillouin microscopy
  • Optical elastography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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