Due to heterogeneity at the cellular level, single cell analysis (SCA) has become a necessity to study cellomics for the early detection of diseases like cancer. Development of single cell manipulation systems is very critical for performing SCA. In this thesis, electrorotation (ROT) chips to trap and rotate single cells using electrokinetic forces have been developed. The ROT chip mainly consists of a set of closely spaced metal electrodes (60µm interspacing between opposite electrodes) that forms a closed electric field cage (electrocage) when driven with high frequency AC voltages. Cells were flowed through a microchannel to the electrocage where they could be precisely trapped, levitated and rotated in 3-D along the axis of interest. The dielectrophoresis based ROT chip design and relevant electrokinetic effects have been simulated using COMSOL 3.4 to optimize the design parameters. Also, various semiconductor technology fabrication process steps have been developed and optimized for better yield and repeatability in the manufacture of the ROT chip. The ROT chip thus fabricated was used to characterize rotation of single cells with respect to the control parameters namely excitation voltage, frequency and cell line. The longevity of cell rotation under electric fields has been probed. Also, the Joule heating inside the ROT chip due to applied voltage has been characterized to know the thermal stress on the cells. The major advantages of the ROT chip developed are precise electrorotation of cells, simple design and straight forward fabrication process.
- Development of a dielectrophoretic chip for single cell electrorotation
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by Iniyan Soundappa Elango