Microfluidics and Nanofluidics

, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp 741–747 | Cite as

Fabrication of bio/nano interfaces between biological cells and carbon nanotubes using dielectrophoresis

  • Junya Suehiro
  • Naoki Ikeda
  • Akio Ohtsubo
  • Kiminobu Imasaka
Research Paper


The authors have previously demonstrated the manipulation of bacteria and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) using dielectrophoresis (DEP) and its application for various types of biological and chemical sensors. This paper demonstrates simultaneous DEP handling of bacteria and CNTs, which are mixed and suspended in water. The CNTs were solubilized in water using microplasma-based treatment. When a microelectrode was energized with an ac voltage in the suspension of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cells and multi-walled CNTs (MWCNTs), both of them were simultaneously trapped in the microelectrode gap. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images revealed that E. coli cells were trapped on the surface or the tip of MWCNTs, where the electric field strength was intensified due to high aspect ratio of MWCNTs. As a result, bio/nano interfaces between bacteria and MWCNTs were automatically formed in a self-assembly manner. A potential application of the DEP-fabricated bio/nano interfaces is a drug delivery system (DDS), which is realized by transporting drug molecules from CNTs to cells across the cell membrane, which can be electroporated by the local high electric field formed on the CNT surface.


Dielectrophoresis Carbon nanotube Solubilization Biological cell Drug delivery system (DDS) 


  1. Bianco A, Kostarelos K, Prato M (2005) Application of carbon nanotubes in drug delivery. Curr Opin Chem Biol 9:674–679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bonard JM, Croci M, Klinke C, Kurt R, Noury O, Weiss N (2002) Carbon nanotube films as electron field emitters. Carbon 40:1715–1728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen J, Liu H, Weimer WA, Halls MD, Waldech DH, Walker GC (2002) Noncovalent engineering of carbon nanotube surfaces by rigid, functional conjugated polymers. J Am Chem Soc 124:9034–9035CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hennrich F, Krupke R, Kappes MM, Löhneysen HV (2005) Frequency dependence of the dielectrophoretic separation of single-walled carbon nanotubes. J Nanosci Nanotechnol 5:1166–1171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hughes MP (2000) AC electrokinetics: applications for nanotechnology. Nanotechnology 11:124–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Iijima S (1991) Helical microtubules of graphitic carbon. Nature 354:56–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Imasaka K, Suehiro J, Kanatake Y, Kato Y, Hara M (2006) Preparation of water-soluble carbon nanotubes using a pulsed streamer discharge in water. Nanotechnology 17:3421–3427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Imasaka K, Suehiro J, Kato Y (2007) Enhancement of microplasma-based water-solubilization of single-walled carbon nanotubes using gas bubbling in water. Nanotechnology 18, Paper No.335602Google Scholar
  9. Islam MF, Rojas E, Bergey DM, Johnson AT, Yodh AG (2003) High weight fraction surfactant solubilization of single-wall carbon nanotubes in water. Nano Lett 3:269–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kang S, Pinault M, Pfefferle LD, Elimelech M (2007) Single-walled carbon nanotubes exhibit strong antimicrobial activity. Langmuir 23:8670–8673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Luong JHT, Hrapovic S, Wang D, Bensebaa F, Simard B (2004) Solubilization of multiwall carbon nanotubes by 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane towards the fabrication of electrochemical biosensors with promoted electron transfer. Electroanalysis 16:132–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Nakajima T, Matsuo Y (1994) Formation process and structure of graphite oxide. Carbon 32:469–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Pethig R (1996) Dielectrophoresis: using inhomogeneous AC electrical fields to separate and manipulate cells. Crit Rev Biotechnol 16:331–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Pethig R (2007) BioMEMS and biomedical nanotechnology, vol II: micro/nano technologies for genomics and proteomics. Springer, USGoogle Scholar
  15. Rojas-Chapana JA, Correa-Duarte MA, Ren Z, Kempa K, Giersig M (2004) Enhanced introduction of gold nanoparticles into vital Acidothiobacillus ferrooxidans by carbon nanotube-based microwave electroporation. Nano Lett 4:985–988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Suehiro J, Yatsunami R, Hamada R, Hara M (1999) Quantitative estimation of biological cell concentration suspended in aqueous medium by using dielectrophoretic impedance measurement method. J Phys D Appl Phys 32:2814–2820CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Suehiro J, Shutou M, Hatano T, Hara M (2003a) High sensitive detection of biological cells using dielectrophoretic impedance measurement method combined with electropermeabilization. Sens Actuators B Chem 96:144–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Suehiro J, Hamada R, Noutomi D, Shutou M, Hara M (2003b) Selective detection of viable bacteria using dielectrophoretic impedance measurement method. J Electrostat 57:157–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Suehiro J, Zhou G, Hara M (2003c) Fabrication of a carbon nanotube-based gas sensor using dielectrophoresis and its application for ammonia detection by impedance spectroscopy. J Phys D Appl Phys 36:L109–L114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Suehiro J, Zhou G, Imakiire H, Ding W, Hara M (2005) Controlled fabrication of carbon nanotube NO2 gas sensor using dielectrophoretic impedance measurement. Sens Actuators B Chem 108:398–403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Suehiro J, Imakiire H, Hidaka S, Ding W, Zhou G, Imasaka K, Hara M (2006a) Schottky-type response of carbon nanotube NO2 gas sensor fabricated onto aluminum electrodes by dielectrophoresis. Sens Actuators B: Chem 114:943–949CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Suehiro J, Sano N, Zhou G, Imakiire H, Imasaka K, Hara M (2006b) Application of dielectrophoresis to fabrication of carbon nanohorn gas sensor. J Electrostat 64:408–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Suehiro J, Nakagawa N, Hidaka S, Ueda M, Imasaka K, Higashihata M, Okada T, Hara M (2006c) Dielectrophoretic fabrication and characterization of a ZnO nanowire-based UV photosensor. Nanotechnology 17:2567–2573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Suehiro J, Hidaka S, Yamane S, Imasaka K (2007) Fabrication of interfaces between carbon nanotubes and catalytic palladium using dielectrophoresis and its application to hydrogen gas sensor. Sens Actuators B: Chem 127:505–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tuukkanen S, Toppari JJ, Kuzyk A, Hirviniemi L, Hytönen VP, Ihalainen T, Törmä P (2006) Carbon nanotubes as electrodes for dielectrophoresis of DNA. Nano Lett 6:1339–1343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Washizu M, Kurosawa O (1990) Electrostatic manipulation of DNA in microfabricated structures. IEEE Trans Ind Appl 26:1165–1172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Zheng M, Jagota A, Semke ED, Diner BA, McLean RS, Lustig SR, Richardson RE, Tassi NG (2003) DNA-assisted dispersion and separation of carbon nanotubes. Nature Mater 2:338–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Zhou R, Wang P, Chang HC (2006) Bacteria capture, concentration and detection by alternating current dielectrophoresis and self-assembly of dispersed single-wall carbon nanotubes. Electrophoresis 27:1376–1385CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junya Suehiro
    • 1
  • Naoki Ikeda
    • 1
  • Akio Ohtsubo
    • 1
  • Kiminobu Imasaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Information Science and Electrical EngineeringKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan

Personalised recommendations