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Anal Chem. 2015 Feb 17;87(4):2282-9. doi: 10.1021/ac503974e. Epub 2015 Feb 4.

Raman-activated cell sorting based on dielectrophoretic single-cell trap and release.

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Single Cell Center, CAS Key Laboratory of Biofuels and Shandong Key Laboratory of Energy Genetics, Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences , Qingdao, Shandong 266101, China.


Raman-activated cell sorting (RACS) is a promising single-cell technology that holds several significant advantages, as RACS is label-free, information-rich, and potentially in situ. To date, the ability of the technique to identify single cells in a high-speed flow has been limited by inherent weakness of the spontaneous Raman signal. Here we present an alternative pause-and-sort RACS microfluidic system that combines positive dielectrophoresis (pDEP) for single-cell trap and release with a solenoid-valve-suction-based switch for cell separation. This has allowed the integration of trapping, Raman identification, and automatic separation of individual cells in a high-speed flow. By exerting a periodical pDEP field, single cells were trapped, ordered, and positioned individually to the detection point for Raman measurement. As a proof-of-concept demonstration, a mixture of two cell strains containing carotenoid-producing yeast (9%) and non-carotenoid-producing Saccharomyces cerevisiae (91%) was sorted, which enriched the former to 73% on average and showed a fast Raman-activated cell sorting at the subsecond level.

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