Spatial analysis of erythrocyte membrane fluctuations by digital holographic microscopy

Benjamin Rappaz, Alexander Barbul, Annick Hoffmann, Daniel Boss, Rafi Korenstein, Christian Depeursinge, Pierre Magistretti, Pierre Marquet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Red blood cell (RBC) membrane fluctuations provide important insights into cell states. We present a spatial analysis of red blood cell membrane fluctuations by using digital holographic microscopy (DHM). This interferometric and dye-free technique, possessing nanometric axial and microsecond temporal sensitivities enables to measure cell membrane fluctuations (CMF) on the whole cell surface. DHM acquisition is combined with a model which allows extracting the membrane fluctuation amplitude, while taking into account cell membrane topology. Uneven distribution of CMF amplitudes over the RBC surface is observed, showing maximal values in a ring corresponding to the highest points on the RBC torus as well as in some scattered areas in the inner region of the RBC. CMF amplitudes of 35.9 ± 8.9 nm and 4.7 ± 0.5 nm (averaged over the cell surface) were determined for normal and ethanol-fixed RBCs, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-232
Number of pages5
JournalBlood Cells, Molecules, and Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Cell membrane fluctuations
  • Digital holography
  • Quantitative phase microscopy
  • Red blood cell
  • Refractive index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


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