Biomedical Microdevices

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 903–913 | Cite as

A microfluidic cell culture platform for real-time cellular imaging



This study reports a new microfluidic cell culture platform for real-time, in vitro microscopic observation and evaluation of cellular functions. Microheaters, a micro temperature sensor, and micropumps are integrated into the system to achieve a self-contained, perfusion-based, cell culture microenvironment. The key feature of the platform includes a unique, ultra-thin, culture chamber with a depth of 180 μm, allowing for real-time, high-resolution cellular imaging by combining bright field and fluorescent optics to visualize nanoparticle-cell/organelle interactions. The cell plating, culturing, harvesting and replenishing processes are performed automatically. The developed platform also enables drug screening and real-time, in situ investigation of the cellular and sub-cellular delivery process of nano vectors. The mitotic activity and the interaction between cells and the nano drug carriers (conjugated quantum dots-epirubicin) are successfully monitored in this device. This developed system could be a promising platform for a wide variety of applications such as high-throughput, cell-based studies and as a diagnostic cellular imaging system.


Microfluidics Micro-bioreactors Cell culture Nanoparticle Cellular imaging MEMS 





Charge-coupled device


Depth of field


Electromagnetic valve


Fetal bovine serum


4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazineethanesulfonic Acid




3-(4,5-Dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium Bromide


Oral cancer cell






Quantum dots




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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Engineering ScienceNational Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan
  2. 2.Institute of Oral Medicine and Department of Stomatology and Institute of Innovation and Advanced StudiesNational Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan
  3. 3.Institute of Basic Medical SciencesNational Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan
  4. 4.Medical Electronics and Device Technology CenterIndustrial Technology Research InstituteHsinchuTaiwan

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