Micro Scale Compression System

Order code

Compression testing on small specimen

  • Compress specimens between 50-2000 µm
  • Motorized piezo stage
  • Integrated camera system

Click here to view the current Data Sheet

Click here to see the video that shows how Dr. Todd McDevitt's laboratory at Georgia Tech is using the Cell Scale Microsquisher on stem cell aggregates.


  • Specimen can be tested in ambient air or in a temperature-controlled fluid bath
  • Determine compressive stress-strain properties of variety of materials


  • Compression testing on specimens between 50 µm and 2mm
  • Displacement-controlled compression and stress relaxation testing

The MicroSquisher is designed to perform compression testing on specimens between 50 µm and 2 mm with force resolutions as small as 50 nN. Forces are determined from the deflection of a flexible cantilever beam to which one compression plate is attached. Displacement control is achieved by manipulating the base of that beam using a motorized piezo stage. An integrated camera system allows synchronized imaging at up to 5 Hz.

Micro-scale material characterization

The MicroSquisher can be used to determine the compressive stress-strain properties of a variety of materials (hydrogel microspheres, small tissue samles, scaffolds and cell aggregates) with peak forces ranging from 1μN to 1mN. 

The device can perform displacement-controlled compression and stress relaxation testing.

The graphs below demonstrate the range of force measurements that can be achieved using the device.  Use different cantilever beam lengths and cross sections to change the force range.

Micro-Scale Material Characterization graph

Micro-Scale Material Characterization graph

Cell Aggregate Compression

The interface tensions that exist play an important role in the organization of cells within aggregates. These properties can be determined by analyzing the force-time curve and test images from a parallel plate compression test.

Cell Aggregate Compression

The MicroSquisher image analysis module quantifies the aggregate profile, allowing cell-cell and cell-medium interface tensions to be calculated.

Cell Aggregate Compression

System Overview

Micro Scale Compression System
1.  Camera (1280X960 pixel USB)
2.  Zoom Lens System (0.3–4.2mm field of view)
3.  Vertical Position Stage (manual imaging adjustment)
4.  Test Chamber (details below)
Micro Scale Compression System
1.  Temperature controller fluid  chamber
2.    Vertical stage position feedback sensor (0.1µm resolution)
3.    Axis piezo motor positioning system (0.05µm incremental motion)
4.    Cantilever beam load applicator with attached upper compression plate



Specimen Size 50-2000 μm
Force Resolution >0.05 µN
Sampling Rate  up to 5 Hz

Gillies, D., Gamal, W., Downes, A., Reinwald, Y., Yang, Y., El Haj, A., & Bagnaninchi, P. O. (2017). Real-time and non-invasive measurements of cell mechanical behaviour with optical coherence phase microscopy. In K. V. Larin & D. D. Sampson (Eds.), (p. 100670Y). International Society for Optics and Photonics. http://doi.org/10.1117/12.2251492

Pradhan, S., Hassani, I., Seeto, W. J., & Lipke, E. A. (2017). PEG-fibrinogen hydrogels for three-dimensional breast cancer cell culture. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 105(1), 236–252. http://doi.org/10.1002/jbm.a.35899

Silva, K. R., Rezende, R. A., Pereira, F. D. A. S., Gruber, P., Stuart, M. P., Ovsianikov, A., … Mironov, V. (2016). Delivery of Human Adipose Stem Cells Spheroids into Lockyballs. PLOS ONE, 11(11), e0166073. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0166073

Wang, Y., Yu, X., Baker, C., Murphy, W. L., & McDevitt, T. C. (2016). Mineral particles modulate osteo-chondrogenic differentiation of embryonic stem cell aggregates. Acta Biomaterialia, 29, 42–51. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2015.10.039

Baraniak, P. R., Cooke, M. T., Saeed, R., Kinney, M. A., Fridley, K. M., & McDevitt, T. C. (2012). Stiffening of human mesenchymal stem cell spheroid microenvironments induced by incorporation of gelatin microparticles. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 11, 63–71. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmbbm.2012.02.018

Brodland, G. W., Yang, J., & Sweny, J. (2009). Cellular interfacial and surface tensions determined from aggregate compression tests using a finite element model. HFSP Journal, 3(4), 273–81. http://doi.org/10.2976/1.3175812

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