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Rapid, automated measurement of dielectrophoretic forces using DEP-activated microwells

Authors

  • Lionel M. Broche,

    1. Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK
    Current affiliation:
    1. Biomedical Physics, University of Aberdeen, Scotland AB25 2ZD, UK
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  • Kai F. Hoettges,

    1. Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK
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  • Stephen L. Ogin,

    1. Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK
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  • George E. N. Kass,

    1. Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK
    Current affiliation:
    1. European Food Safety Authority, Largo N. Palli 5/A, I-43100 Parma, Italy
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  • Michael P. Hughes

    Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK
    • Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK
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Abstract

Dielectrophoresis (DEP) is a physical effect that generates a force on polarisable particles experiencing a non-homogeneous electric field; studying the effect as a function of frequency allows the determination of the electrical properties of that particle, i.e. the electrical permittivity and conductivity. In the past, DEP-based techniques applied to the measurement of one or several cells at a time have been subject to many sources of noise, which result in an ambiguous or inaccurate result. However, improvements are possible by generating more information from the experiments. In this paper, we present a rapid automated system that measures the DEP spectrum from a large population of cells with a low level of noise using the microwell electrodes, based on a method of analysis that provides additional information about the electrical properties of the cells and a new theoretical approach was developed to obtain accurate, bias-free results in <5 min.

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