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  • Author: Marco Stubbe x
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Lab-on-chip systems (LOCs) can be used as in vitro systems for cell culture or manipulation in order to analyze or monitor physiological cell parameters. LOCs may combine microfluidic structures with integrated elements such as piezo-transducers, optical tweezers or electrodes for AC-electrokinetic cell and media manipulations. The wide frequency band (<1 kHz to >1 GHz) usable for AC-electrokinetic manipulation and characterization permits avoiding electrochemical electrode processes, undesired cell damage, and provides a choice between different polarization effects that permit a high electric contrast between the cells and the external medium as well as the differentiation between cellular subpopulations according to a variety of parameters. It has been shown that structural polarization effects do not only determine the impedance of cell suspensions and the force effects in AC-electrokinetics but can also be used for the manipulation of media with inhomogeneous temperature distributions. This manuscript considers the interrelations of the impedance of suspensions of cells and AC-electrokinetic single cell effects, such as electroorientation, electrodeformation, dielectrophoresis, electrorotation, and travelling wave (TW) dielectrophoresis. Unified models have allowed us to derive new characteristic equations for the impedance of a suspension of spherical cells, TW dielectrophoresis, and TW pumping. A critical review of the working principles of electro-osmotic, TW and electrothermal micropumps shows the superiority of the electrothermal pumps. Finally, examples are shown for LOC elements that can be produced as metallic structures on glass chips, which may form the bottom plate for self-sealing microfluidic systems. The structures can be used for cell characterization and manipulation but also to realize micropumps or sensors for pH, metabolites, cell-adhesion, etc.


An animal model of deep brain stimulation (DBS) was used in in vivo studies of the encapsulation process of custom-made platinum/iridium microelectrodes in the subthalamic nucleus of hemiparkinsonian rats via electrical impedance spectroscopy. Two electrode types with 100-μm bared tips were used: i) a unipolar electrode with a 200-μm diameter and a subcutaneous gold wire counter electrode and ii) a bipolar electrode with two parallelshifted 125-μm wires. Miniaturized current-controlled pulse generators (130 Hz, 200 μA, 60 μs) enabled chronic DBS of the freely moving animals. A phenomenological electrical model enabled recalculation of the resistivity of the wound tissue around the electrodes from daily in vivo recordings of the electrode impedance over two weeks. In contrast to the commonly used 1 kHz impedance, the resistivity is independent of frequency, electrode properties, and current density. It represents the ionic DC properties of the tissue. Significant resistivity changes were detected with a characteristic decrease at approximately the 2nd day after implantation. The maximum resistivity was reached before electrical stimulation was initiated on the 8th day, which resulted in a decrease in resistivity. Compared with the unipolar electrodes, the bipolar electrodes exhibited an increased sensitivity for the tissue resistivity.