Michal Wojdyla; Saurabh Raj; Dmitri Petrov
The electronic properties of single human red blood cells under mechanical deformations were investigated using a combination of dual beam optical tweezers and UV-vis absorption spectroscopy. The mechanical deformations were induced by two near-infrared optical traps with different trapping powers and trap configurations. The deformations were applied in two ways: locally, due to the mechanical forces around the traps, and by stretching the cell by moving the traps in opposite directions. In the presence of local deformations, the single cell undergoes a transition from an oxygenated state to a partially deoxygenated state. This process was found to be reversible and strongly power-dependent. Stretching the cell caused an opposite effect, indicating that the electronic response of the whole cell is dominated by the local interaction with the trapping beams. Results are discussed considering light-induced local heating, the Stark effect, and biochemical alterations due to mechanical forces, and are compared with reports of previous Raman spectroscopy studies. The information gained by the analysis of a single red blood cell’s electronic response facilitates the understanding of fundamental physiological processes and sheds further light on the cell’s mechanochemistry. This information may offer new opportunities for the diagnosis and treatment of blood diseases.