Brillouin microscopy, what is it really measuring?

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Brillouin microscopy is a new tool to characterize the stiffness of cells and tissues, however the underlying relationship between stiffness and Brillouin measurements remains unknown. As the stiffness of biological materials is influenced by hydration, we performed Brillouin microscopy on hydrogels whilst independently examining the role of stiffness and water content. Brillouin measurements were independent of stiffness, but correlated strongly with hydration, indicating that Brillouin microscopy really measures water content.
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