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Microfluidic Separation of Live and Dead Yeast Cells using Reservoir-Based Dielectrophoresis

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Separating live and dead cells is critical to the diagnosis of early stage diseases and to the efficacy test of drug screening, etc. This work demonstrates a novel microfluidic approach to dielectrophoretic separation of yeast cells by viability. It exploits the cell dielectrophoresis that is induced by the inherent electric field gradient at the reservoir-microchannel junction to selectively trap dead yeast cells and continuously separate them from live ones right inside the reservoir. This approach is therefore termed reservoir-based dielectrophoresis (rDEP). It has unique advantages as compared to existing dielectrophoretic approaches such as the occupation of zero channel space and the elimination of any mechanical or electrical parts inside microchannels. Such an rDEP cell sorter can be readily integrated with other components into lab-on-a-chip devices for applications to biomedical diagnostics and therapeutics.

This article was published online in Biomicrofluidics and is free to access.