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Single-Cell Analysis

Volume 853 of the series Methods in Molecular Biology pp 53-63

Date:

Isodielectric Separation and Analysis of Cells

  • Michael D. VaheyAffiliated withDepartment of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • , Joel VoldmanAffiliated withDepartment of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Email author 

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Abstract

Measuring the electrical properties of a cell provides a fast and accessible means of identifying or characterizing cells whose biological state differs from the population as a whole. This chapter describes a microfluidic method for characterizing the electrical properties of cells based upon their convergence to equilibrium in an electrical conductivity gradient. The method, called isodielectric separation, uses the dielectrophoretic force induced on polarizable objects in spatially nonuniform electric fields to deflect cells to the point in the conductivity gradient where their polarization charge vanishes. This equilibrium position encodes the cell’s electrical properties and can be used to identify cells that are electrically distinct from a background population, to determine the extent of this difference, and to physically isolate them for further study.

Key words

Electrical separation Dielectrophoresis Cell separation Electrical analysis Microfluidics