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Laser cavitation rheology for measurement of elastic moduli and failure strain within hydrogels


We introduce laser cavitation rheology (LCR) as a minimally-invasive optical method to characterize mechanical properties within the interior of biological and synthetic aqueous soft materials at high strain-rates. We utilized time-resolved photography to measure cavitation bubble dynamics generated by the delivery of focused 500 ps duration laser radiation at λ = 532 nm within fibrin hydrogels at pulse energies of Ep = 12, 18 µJ and within polyethylene glycol (600) diacrylate (PEG (600) DA) hydrogels at Ep = 2, 5, 12 µJ. Elastic moduli and failure strains of fibrin and PEG (600) DA hydrogels were calculated from these measurements by determining parameter values which provide the best fit of the measured data to a theoretical model of cavitation bubble dynamics in a Neo-Hookean viscoelastic medium subject to material failure. We demonstrate the use of this method to retrieve the local, interior elastic modulus of these hydrogels and both the radial and circumferential failure strains.

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