Biomedical Microdevices

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 271–278 | Cite as

Dielectrophoretic chip with multilayer electrodes and micro-cavity array for trapping and programmably releasing single cells

  • Cheng-Hsin ChuangEmail author
  • Yao-Wei Huang
  • Yao-Tung Wu


Cell characterization analysis usually involves a sequence of steps such as culture, separation, trapping, examination and recollection. In general, it is difficult to recover the identified cells and achieve a multi-run examination on a single chip for clinical samples. In the present study, a dielectrophoresis (DEP) micro-device was developed for multi-step manipulations of cells at the single-cell level. The structure of the DEP chip consisted of an indium tin oxide (ITO) top electrode, a flow chamber, a middle electrode on an SU-8 surface, a micro-cavity array of SU-8 and distributed electrodes at the bottom of the micro-cavities. The purpose of the three-layer-electrode design was threefold. First, cells could be trapped into the micro-cavities by negative DEP between the top and middle electrodes. After cells were trapped, cell analysis at the single-cell level could potentially be performed. This could include, for example, drug treatment or biomedical sensing on the chip without applying voltage. Once identified, the target cells could be individually released by controlling the bottom distributed electrodes. Finally, the rest of the trapped cells could be pulled out by a positive DEP force between the top and middle electrodes and flushed away for the next run of cell analysis. The multi-step manipulations of human bladder cancer cells (TSGH8301) were successfully demonstrated and discussed, providing an excellent platform technology for a lab-on-a-chip (LOC).


Dielectrophoresis Single cell Manipulations SU-8 microstructure Programmability 



This study was supported by the National Science Council of Taiwan under contract no. NSC 99-2221-E-218-032. The authors would like to thank the Semiconductor & Electro-optical Center at Southern Taiwan University for the use of the MEMS facilities. In addition, we are grateful to the National Center for High-Performance Computing for computer time and the use of the center’s facilities.

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering & Institute of NanotechnologySouthern Taiwan UniversityTainanTaiwan

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