Professor James Gimzewski with PhD student Andrew Pelling at the Pico lab, UCLA first made the discovery that yeast cells oscillate at the nanoscale in 2002. Amplifying this oscillation results in a sound that lies within the human audible range. "Sonocytology", the suggested term for this cutting edge field of study, represents a new realm of challenge and potential for scientists, artists, and in particular for musicians. The tool with which the cell sounds are extracted - the atomic force microscope (AFM) - can be regarded as a new type of musical instrument. Unlike microscopes that use optical imaging, the AFM "touches" a cell with its small tip, comparable to a record needle "feeling" the bumps in a groove on a record. With this interface, the AFM "feels" oscillations taking place at the membrane of a cell. These electrical signals can then be amplified and distributed by speakers. Manipulating the cell with chemicals will result in a change of oscillation. Isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) for example, will change a "singing cell" into a "screaming cell". And a chemical such as sodium azide will kill the cell, causing the emitted frequency to die away, leaving only noise.
(Text source: The dark side of the cell)