Single cell phenotypic heterogeneity studies reveal more information about the pathogenesis process than conventional bulk methods. Furthermore, investigation of the individual cellular response mechanism during rapid environmental changes can only be achieved at single cell level. By enabling the study of cellular morphology, a single cell three-dimensional (3D) imaging system can be used to diagnose fatal diseases, such as cancer, at an early stage. One proven method, CellCT, accomplishes 3D imaging by rotating a single cell around a fixed axis. However, some existing cell rotating mechanisms require either intricate microfabrication, and some fail to provide a suitable environment for living cells. This thesis develops a microvorterx chamber that allows living cells to be rotated by hydrodynamic alone while facilitating imaging access. In this thesis work, 1) the new chamber design was developed through numerical simulation. Simulations revealed that in order to form a microvortex in the side chamber, the ratio of the chamber opening to the channel width must be smaller than one. After comparing different chamber designs, the trapezoidal side chamber was selected because it demonstrated controllable circulation and met the imaging requirements. Microvortex properties were not sensitive to the chambers with interface angles ranging from 0.32 to 0.64. A similar trend was observed when chamber heights were larger than chamber opening. 2) Micro-particle image velocimetry was used to characterize microvortices and validate simulation results. Agreement between experimentation and simulation confirmed that numerical simulation was an effective method for chamber design. 3) Finally, cell rotation experiments were performed in the trapezoidal side chamber. The experimental results demonstrated cell rotational rates ranging from 12 to 29 rpm for regular cells. With a volumetric flow rate of 0.5 µL/s, an irregular cell rotated at a mean rate of 97 ± 3 rpm. Rotational rates can be changed by altering inlet flow rates.
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