Electrical characterization of a single cell electroporation biochip with the 2-D scanning vibrating electrode technology

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Advancements in microfabrication technology have lead to the development of planar micro-pore electroporation technology. This technology has been shown to provide greater control in single cell manipulation, and electroporation which is independent from cell size. In this work we report direct and spatially resolved characterization of electric currents within a planar micropore electroporation biochip to better understand this phenomenon at the cellular level. This work was performed using a two-dimensional (2-D) vibrating probe (VP). Analysis of the spatial patterns of current density yielded a 4th order polynomial profile in the planes parallel to the biochip’s surface and a three parameter hyperbolic decay profile in the planes perpendicular to the chip surface. A finite element model was developed which correlates with actual measurements on the micropore. Preliminary VP current density measurements of electroporated HepG2 cells revealed a significantly high current density minutes after electroporation even with non-electroporative pulses. These results indicate that cells take a considerable amount of time for complete electrophysiological recovery and indicate the use of the VP as a cell viability indicator for optimized electroporation.

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The authors would like to acknowledge members of the Purdue University Cytometry Laboratories (PUCL) for their support with microscopy and cell culture. We would also like to thank Eric McLamore for his assistance on the microprobe rigs and the staff of Bindley Bioscience Center. This work was partially funded by the Institute for Functional Nanomaterials and the Collaboration in Biomedical Engineering Research, a joint initiative between the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University.

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Correspondence to D. Marshall Porterfield.

Additional information

Aeraj ul Haque and Mahvash Zuberi contributed equally to the work.

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ul Haque, A., Zuberi, M., Diaz-Rivera, R.E. et al. Electrical characterization of a single cell electroporation biochip with the 2-D scanning vibrating electrode technology. Biomed Microdevices 11, 1239–1250 (2009) doi:10.1007/s10544-009-9343-3

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  • Electroporation
  • Biochip
  • Micropore
  • Current density
  • Vibrating probe