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Lab Chip. 2010 Jan 21;10(2):165-72. doi: 10.1039/b906593h. Epub 2009 Sep 7.

Phototransistor-based optoelectronic tweezers for dynamic cell manipulation in cell culture media.

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  • 1University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer science, 476 Cory Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Optoelectronic tweezers (OET), based on light-induced dielectrophoresis, has been shown as a versatile tool for parallel manipulation of micro-particles and cells (P. Y. Chiou, A. T. Ohta and M. C. Wu, Nature, 2005, 436, 370-372). However, the conventional OET device cannot operate in cell culture media or other high-conductivity physiological buffers due to the limited photoconductivity of amorphous silicon. In this paper, we report a new phototransistor-based OET (Ph-OET). Consisting of single-crystalline bipolar junction transistors, the Ph-OET has more than 500x higher photoconductivity than amorphous silicon. Efficient cell trapping of live HeLa and Jurkat cells in Phosphate Buffered Saline (PBS) and Dulbecco's Modified Eagle's Medium (DMEM) has been demonstrated using a digital light projector, with a cell transport speed of 33 microm/sec, indicating a force of 14.5 pN. Optical concentration of cells and real-time control of individually addressable cell arrays have also been realized. Precise control of separation between two cells has also been demonstrated. We envision a new platform for single cell studies using Ph-OET.

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