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Electrophoresis. 2012 Jul;33(13):1980-6. doi: 10.1002/elps.201100579.

A cell electrofusion microfluidic chip using discrete coplanar vertical sidewall microelectrodes.

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Key Laboratory of Biorheological Science and Technology, Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory for Optoelectronic Technology and Systems, Ministry of Education Chongqing University, Chongqing, P. R. China.


A novel cell electrofusion microfluidic chip using discrete coplanar vertical sidewall electrodes has been designed, fabricated, and tested. The device contains a serpentine-shaped microchannel with 22 500 pairs of vertical sidewall microelectrodes patterned on two opposing vertical sidewalls of the microchannel. The adjacent microelectrodes on each sidewall are separated by coplanar SiO(2) -Polysilicon-SiO(2) /silicon. This design of coplanar discrete vertical sidewall electrodes eliminates the "dead area" present in previous designs using continuous three-dimensional (3D) protruding sidewall electrodes, and generates uniform electric field along the height of the microchannel, leading to a lower voltage required for cell fusion compared to designs using 2D thin-film electrodes. This device is tested to fuse NIH3T3 cells under a low voltage (∼9 V). Almost 100% cells are aligned to the edge of the discrete microelectrodes, and cell-cell pairing efficiency reaches 70%. The electrofusion efficiency is above 40% of the total cells loaded into the device, which is much higher than traditional fusion methods and existing microfluidic devices using continuous 3D protruding sidewall microelectrodes.

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