, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 25-34

Electrical and thermal characterization of nanochannels between a cell and a silicon based micro-pore

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Abstract

Micro and nano fabrication techniques have facilitated the production of new devices for manipulation of single cells on a chip, such as the planar micro-pore electroporation technology. To characterize this technology we have studied the seal that forms at the interface between an individual cell and the micro-pore, in which the cell normally resides, as a function of an electrical field applied across the cell and temperature. Mathematical analysis of non-electroporative electrical fields in experiments with Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells suggests that nanoscale channels form between the exterior of the cell and the pore wall. The results indicate that the electrical currents through these channels need to be considered when using planar micro-pores in general and performing micro-pore electroporation in particular. Our results show that the size of these channels is strongly temperature dependent and the cell to pore wall distance can increase by as much as 60% when the temperature of the system is lowered from 35 to 0C. Temperature appears to be an important factor in the use of devices for cells on a chip and our results suggest that physiological temperatures should yield better seal formation, thus improved feedback sensitivity, than the traditional use of room temperature in planar micro-pore electroporation devices.