In this paper a new technique is proposed to determine the acoustic properties as well as the thickness (and volume) of biological cells. Variations of thickness, density, acoustic wave velocity, stiffness, and attenuation coefficient of a living or dead cell are obtained by scanning the cell by an acoustic microscope. The distance between the cell and the microscope lens is varied and several voltage curves are thus obtained. These curves are then inverted by simplex optimization technique to obtain the cell parameters. The spatial resolution of the method is limited to the resolution of the scanning acoustic microscope. It allows to take advantage of the full range of frequencies and amplification of the microscope. Characteristic distributions of stiffness are exemplified with an endothelial cell in culture. The main part of the thin, lamellar cytoplasm has high stiffness, which drops close to the lamella/cell body transition region and only slightly increases again through the central part of the cell. Acoustic attenuation seems to be related to two factors, cytoplasm accumulation (in the lamellar parts) and scattering in the central part rich in organelles.
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