Capsule-substrate contact deformation: Determination of adhesion energy

K. K. Liu, V. Chan, Z. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A study is reported of a cellular entity (liquid-filled microcapsule) adhered on a flat glass substrate in response to changes in osmotic pressure and temperature. High-resolution reflection interference contrast microscopy (HR-RICM) and phase-contrast microscopy were developed for probing the adhesion contact area, capsule-substrate separation profile and adhesion energy of the adhering micro-capsule. The new technique increased the detection limit of the measured capsule wall-substrate separation in the cohesive zone from 1 to 4.5 μm and improved the spatial resolution of the heterogeneous contact zones. A theoretical model was applied to correlate quantitatively the adhesion energy to the area of the contact zone. The work demonstrated the possibility of ascertaining the quantitative inter-facial adhesion energy of a liquid-filled microcapsule using the present technique and represents the first step in extending this novel approach to study more complicated systems, such as cell-substrate interactions, in the future.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)491-495
Number of pages5
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2002


  • Adhesion energy
  • Adhesive contact
  • Cell adhesion
  • Contact area
  • Microcapsule
  • Osmotic pressure


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