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High-Throughput Separation, Trapping, and Manipulation of Single Cells and Particles by Combined Dielectrophoresis at a Bipolar Electrode Array

Wu, Yupan, Ren, Yukun, Tao, Ye, Hou, Likai, Jiang, Hongyuan
Analytical chemistry 2018 v.90 no.19 pp. 11461-11469
aqueous solutions, cell movement, dielectrophoresis, drugs, electric field, electrodes, microbeads, organ-on-a-chip, polystyrenes, surgery, torque, yeasts
Microfluidic systems have been developed widely in scaled-down processes of laboratory techniques, but they are usually limited in achieving stand-alone functionalities. It is highly desirable to exploit an integrated microfluidic device with multiple capabilities such as cell separation, single-cell trapping, and cell manipulation. Herein, we reported a microfluidic platform integrated with actuation electrodes, for separating cells and microbeads, and bipolar electrodes, for trapping, rotating, and propelling single cells and microbeads. The separation of cells and microbeads can be first achieved by deflective dielectrophoresis (DEP) barriers. Trapping experiments with yeast cells and polystyrene (PS) microbeads suspended in aqueous solutions with different conductivities were then conducted, showing that both cells and particles can be trapped at the center of wireless electrodes by negative DEP force. Upon application of a rotating electric field, yeast cells exhibit translational movement along the electrode edges, and self-rotation is seen at an array of bipolar electrodes when electrorotational torque and traveling wave DEP force are applied on the cells. The current approach allows us to switch the propulsion and rotation direction of cells by varying the frequency of the applied electric field. Beyond the achievements of single-cell manipulation, this system permits effective control of several particles or cells simultaneously. The integration of parallel sorting and single trapping stages within a microfluidic chip enables the prospect of high-throughput cell separation, single trapping, and large-scale cell locomotion and rotation in a noninvasive and disposable format, showing great potential in single-cell analysis, targeted drug delivery, and surgery.