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Lab Chip. 2011 Feb 7;11(3):407-12. doi: 10.1039/c0lc00099j. Epub 2010 Nov 9.

Micro-impedance cytometry for detection and analysis of micron-sized particles and bacteria.

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  • 1School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK.


The sensitivity of a microfluidic impedance flow cytometer is governed by the dimensions of the sample analysis volume. A small volume gives a high sensitivity, but this can lead to practical problems including fabrication and clogging of the device. We describe a microfluidic impedance cytometer which uses an insulating fluid to hydrodynamically focus a sample stream of particles suspended in electrolyte, through a large sensing volume. The detection region consists of two pairs of electrodes fabricated within a channel 200 µm wide and 30 µm high. The focussing technique increases the sensitivity of the system without reducing the dimensions of the microfluidic channel. We demonstrate detection and discrimination of 1 µm and 2 µm diameter polystyrene beads and also Escherichia coli. Impedance data from single particles are correlated with fluorescence emission measured simultaneously. Data are also compared with conventional flow cytometry and dynamic light scattering: the coefficient of variation (CV) of size is found to be comparable between the systems.

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