Soft hydrogels serving as substrates for cell attachment are used to culture many types of cells. The mechanical properties of these gels influence the cell morphology, growth and differentiation. Young’s moduli of such hydrogels were calculated by our group using spherical beads of 400μm radius embedded in micro-liter samples [1]. This concept of inclusion-based measurement has also been utilized by other researchers to measure local viscoelastic responses [2, 3]. The present research involves scaling down the size of the inclusions to the level at which local inhomogeneties in the media become significant, thus allowing us to evaluate the local elastic behavior of the hydrogels.

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