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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nanobiomechanics (also bionanomechanics) is an emerging field in nanoscience and
biomechanics that combines the powerful tools of nanomechanics to explore funda
mental science of biomaterials and biomechanics.
Since the introduction by its founder Yuan-Cheng Fung, the field of biomechanics
has become one of the branches of mechanics and bioscience. For many years, bio
mechanics has examined tissue. Through advancements in nanoscience, the scale of
the forces that could be measured and also the scale of observation of biomater
ials was reduced to "nano" and "pico" level. Consequently it became possible to
measure the mechanical properties of biological materials at nanoscale.
Most of the biological materials have different hierarchical levels, and the sma
llest ones refer to the nanoscale. For example bone has up to seven levels of bi
ological organization, and the smallest level, i.e., single collagen fibril and
hydroxylapatite minerals have dimensions well below 100 nm. Therefore, being abl
e to probe properties at this small scales provides a great opportunity for bett
er understanding the fundamental properties of these materials. For example, mea
surements have shown that nanomechanical heterogeneity exists even within single
collagen fibrils as small as 100 nm.[1]
One of the other most relevant topics in this field is measurement of tiny force
s on living cells to recognize changes caused by different diseases. For example
, it has been shown that red blood cells infected by malaria are 10 times stiffe
r than normal cells.[2] Likewise, it has been shown that cancer cells are 70 per
cent softer than normal cells.[3] Early signs of aging cartilage and osteoarthri
tis has been shown by looking at the changes in the tissue at the nanoscale.[4]

Methods and Instrumentation

Examples of relevant materials
Computational nanobiomechanics

Methods and Instrumentation

The common methods in nanobiomechanics are summarized below:
Atomic force microscope
Optical tweezers
Magnetic twisting cytometry
Examples of relevant materials
High resolution AFM image of cortical bone and single collagen fibril (inset)
bone[5] and its hierarchical constituents such as single collagen fibrils
single living cells
actin filaments and microtubules[6]
synthetic peptide nanotubes
Computational nanobiomechanics

In addition to experimental aspect, research has been expanding through computat

ional methods. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations have provided a wealth of kno
wledge in this area. Although, the MD simulation are still limited to a small nu
mber of atoms and molecules, due to limitation in the computational performance,
they have proved to be an instrumental branch of this emerging field.
Minary-Jolandan, Majid; Yu, Min-Feng (2009). "Nanomechanical heterogeneity i
n the gap and overlap regions of type I collagen fibrils with implications for b
one heterogeneity". Biomacromolecules 10 (9): 2565 70. doi:10.1021/bm900519v. PMID
Michael Fitzgerald (March April 2006). "Nanobiomechanics". Technology Review.
MIT. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
Katherine Bourzac (December 4, 2007). "The Feel of Cancer Cells". Technology
Review. MIT. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
Stolz M, Gottardi R, Raiteri R, Miot S, Martin I, Imer R et al. (2009). "Ear
ly detection of aging cartilage and osteoarthritis in mice and patient samples u
sing atomic force microscopy". Nature Nanotechnology 4 (3): 186 92. doi:10.1038/nn
ano.2008.410. PMID 19265849.
Tai K, Dao M, Suresh S, Palazoglu A, Ortiz C (2007). "Nanoscale heterogeneit
y promotes energy dissipation in bone". Nature Materials 6 (6): 454 62. doi:10.103
8/nmat1911. PMID 17515917.
Kiss et al. (2002). "Nanomechanics of Microtubules". Physical Review Letters
89 (24). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.89.248101.
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