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Keywords:

  • radiofrequency;
  • SAR;
  • dosimetry;
  • in vitro;
  • temperature regulation

Abstract

A beam formed radiofrequency (RF) exposure-incubator employing a horn antenna, a dielectric lens, and a culture case in an anechoic chamber is developed for large scale in vitro studies. The combination of an open type RF exposure source and a culture case through which RF is transmitted realizes a uniform electric field (±1.5 dB) in a 300 × 300 mm area that accommodates 49 35 mm diameter culture dishes. This large culture dish area enables simultaneous RF exposure of a large number of cells or various cell lines. The RF exposure source operates at 2142.5 MHz corresponding to the middle frequency of the downlink band of the International Mobile Telecommunication 2000 (IMT-2000) cellular system. The dielectric lens, which has a gain of 7 dB, focuses RF energy in the direction of the culture case and provides a uniform electric field. The culture case is sealed and connected to the main unit for environmental control, located outside the anechoic chamber, via ducts. The temperature at the center of the tray, which contains the culture dishes in the culture room, is maintained at 37.0 ± 0.2 °C by air circulation. In addition, the appropriate CO2 density and humidity supplied to the culture case realizes stable long term culture conditions. Specific absorption rate (SAR) dosimetry is performed using an electric field measurement technique and the Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) calculation method. The results indicate that the mean SAR of the culture fluid at the bottom of the 49 (7 × 7 array) culture dishes used in the in vitro experiments is 0.175 W/kg for an antenna input power of 1 W and the standard deviation of the SAR distribution is 59%. When only 25 culture dishes (5 × 5 array) are evaluated, the mean SAR is 0.139 W/kg for the same antenna input power and the standard deviation of the SAR distribution is 47%. The proliferation of the H4 cell line in 72 h in a pair of RF exposure-incubators reveals that the culture conditions are equivalent to those of a common CO2 incubator. Bioelectromagnetics 25:599–606, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.