Microfluidic device for cell capture and impedance measurement

Ling-Sheng Jang, Min-How Wang
Biomedical Microdevices 2007, 9 (5): 737-43
This work presents a microfluidic device to capture physically single cells within microstructures inside a channel and to measure the impedance of a single HeLa cell (human cervical epithelioid carcinoma) using impedance spectroscopy. The device includes a glass substrate with electrodes and a PDMS channel with micro pillars. The commercial software CFD-ACE+ is used to study the flow of the microstructures in the channel. According to simulation results, the probability of cell capture by three micro pillars is about 10%. An equivalent circuit model of the device is established and fits closely to the experimental results. The circuit can be modeled electrically as cell impedance in parallel with dielectric capacitance and in series with a pair of electrode resistors. The system is operated at low frequency between 1 and 100 kHz. In this study, experiments show that the HeLa cell is successfully captured by the micro pillars and its impedance is measured by impedance spectroscopy. The magnitude of the HeLa cell impedance declines at all operation voltages with frequency because the HeLa cell is capacitive. Additionally, increasing the operation voltage reduces the magnitude of the HeLa cell because a strong electric field may promote the exchange of ions between the cytoplasm and the isotonic solution. Below an operating voltage of 0.9 V, the system impedance response is characteristic of a parallel circuit at under 30 kHz and of a series circuit at between 30 and 100 kHz. The phase of the HeLa cell impedance is characteristic of a series circuit when the operation voltage exceeds 0.8 V because the cell impedance becomes significant.

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