• cell enrichment;
  • diagnostics;
  • electrical cell lysis;
  • microfluidics;
  • optoelectronics


We show an electrical method to break open living cells amongst a population of different cell types, where cell selection is based upon their shape. We implement the technique on an optoelectronic platform, where light, focused onto a semiconductor surface from a video projector creates a reconfigurable pattern of electrodes. One can choose the area of cells to be lysed in real-time, from single cells to large areas, simply by redrawing the projected pattern. We show that the method, based on the “electrical shadow” that the cell casts, allows the detection of rare cell types in blood (including sleeping sickness parasites), and has the potential to enable single cell studies for advanced molecular diagnostics, as well as wider applications in analytical chemistry.