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Phys Rev E. 2017 Jul;96(1-1):012404. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.96.012404. Epub 2017 Jul 12.

Optomechanical proposal for monitoring microtubule mechanical vibrations.

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Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria, 3400 Klosterneuburg, Austria.
Department of Physics, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan 8415683111, Iran and School of Physics, Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences (IPM), Tehran 19395-5531, Iran.
Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton T6G 1Z2, Alberta, Canada and Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB T6G 2E1, Canada.
Institute of Photonics and Electronics, The Czech Academy of Sciences, Chabersk√° 57, 182 00 Prague, Czech Republic.
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Calgary, Calgary T2N 1N4, Alberta, Canada and Institute for Quantum Science and Technology, University of Calgary, Calgary T2N 1N4, Alberta, Canada.


Microtubules provide the mechanical force required for chromosome separation during mitosis. However, little is known about the dynamic (high-frequency) mechanical properties of microtubules. Here, we theoretically propose to control the vibrations of a doubly clamped microtubule by tip electrodes and to detect its motion via the optomechanical coupling between the vibrational modes of the microtubule and an optical cavity. In the presence of a red-detuned strong pump laser, this coupling leads to optomechanical-induced transparency of an optical probe field, which can be detected with state-of-the art technology. The center frequency and line width of the transparency peak give the resonance frequency and damping rate of the microtubule, respectively, while the height of the peak reveals information about the microtubule-cavity field coupling. Our method opens the new possibilities to gain information about the physical properties of microtubules, which will enhance our capability to design physical cancer treatment protocols as alternatives to chemotherapeutic drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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