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David Rowland, Yuttana Roongthumskul, Jae-Hyun Lee, Jinwoo Cheon, and Dolores Bozovic
"Magnetic Actuation of Hair Cells"
Appl. Phys. Lett., 99 (19), 193701
Date: Nov 7, 2011

The bullfrog sacculus contains mechanically sensitive hair cells whose stereociliary bundles oscillate spontaneously when decoupled from the overlying membrane. Steady-state offsets on the resting position of a hair bundle can suppress or modulate this native motility. To probe the dynamics of spontaneous oscillation in the proximity of the critical point, we describe here a method for mechanical actuation that avoids loading the bundles or contributing to the viscous drag. Magnetite beads were attached to the tips of the stereocilia, and a magnetic probe was used to impose deflections. This technique allowed us to observe the transition from multi-mode to single-mode state in freely oscillating bundles, as well as the crossover from the oscillatory to the quiescent state.

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