Cell separation on microfabricated electrodes using dielectrophoretic/gravitational field-flow fractionation.


Dielectrophoretic/gravitational field-flow fractionation (DEP/G-FFF) was used to separate cultured human breast cancer MDA-435 cells from normal blood cells mixed together in a sucrose/dextrose medium. An array of microfabricated, interdigitated electrodes of 50 microns widths and spacings, and lining the bottom surface of a thin chamber (0.42 mm H x 25 mm W x 300 mm L), was used to generate DEP forces that levitated the cells. A 10-microL cell mixture sample containing approximately 50,000 cells was introduced into the chamber, and cancerous and normal blood cells were levitated to different heights according to the balance of DEP and gravitational forces. The cells at different heights were transported at different velocities under the influence of a parabolic flow profile that was established in the chamber and were thereby separated. Separation performance depended on the frequency and voltage of the applied DEP field and the fluid-flow rate. It took as little as 5 min to achieve cell separation. An analysis of the DEP/G-FFF results revealed that the separation exploited the difference in dielectric and density properties between cell populations. The DEP/G-FFF technique is potentially applicable to many biological and biomedical problems, especially those related to microfluidic systems.


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@article{Yang1999CellSO, title={Cell separation on microfabricated electrodes using dielectrophoretic/gravitational field-flow fractionation.}, author={J Yang and Yining Huang and Xiaolu Wang and Frederick F. Becker and Peter R. C. Gascoyne}, journal={Analytical chemistry}, year={1999}, volume={71 5}, pages={911-8} }