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Lab Chip. 2013 Mar 21;13(6):1144-50. doi: 10.1039/c3lc41252k.

Single cell membrane poration by bubble-induced microjets in a microfluidic chip.

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  • 1Division of Microelectronics, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 639798, Singapore.


This paper demonstrates membrane poration of a single suspension cell due to a fast liquid microjet. The jet is formed during the collapse of a laser induced bubble created at a variable stand-off distance from the target cell. The cell is trapped by a converging structure within a microfluidic chip. The asymmetrical growth and collapse of the cavitation bubble next to the cell lead to the microjetting, which deforms and porates the cell membrane. In the experiments, the membrane porations of myeloma cells are probed with the uptake of trypan blue. Time-resolved studies of the diffusion of trypan blue show a marked dependency on the bubble dynamics, i.e. the stand-off distance. The penetration length of the dye increases with shorter distances. Numerical simulations of the diffusion process agree with larger pores formed on the cell membrane. This method allows for a fast, repeatable, and localized rupture of membranes of individual cells in suspension.

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