An impedance based microfluidic sensor for evaluation of individual red blood cell solute permeability

Lining Huang, Ibrahim Jasim, Omar Alkorjia, Cansu Agca, Anna Oksman, Yuksel Agca, Daniel E. Goldberg, James D. Benson, Mahmoud Almasri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


—In this paper, we investigate a microfluidic based sensing device for cell membrane permeability measurements in real time with applications in rapid assessment of red blood cell (RBC) quality at the individual cell level. The microfluidic chip was designed with unique abilities to line up the RBCs in the centerline of the microchannel using positive dielectrophoresis (p-DEP) forces, rapid mixing of RBCs with various media (e.g. containing permeating or nonpermeating solutes) injected from different inlets to achieve high mixing efficiency. The chip detects the impedance values of the RBCs within 0.19 s from the start of mixing with other media, at ten electrodes along the length of the channel and enables time series measurements of volume change of individual cell caused by cell osmosis in anisosmotic fluids over a 0.8 s postmixing timespan. This technique enables estimating water permeability of individual cell accurately. Here we first present confirmation of a linear voltage-diameter relationship in polystyrene bead standards. Next, we show that under equilibrium conditions, the voltage-volume relationship in rat red blood cells (RBCs) is linear, corresponding to previously published Boyle van ‘t Hoff plots. Using rat cells as a model for human, we present the first measurement of water permeability in individual red blood cells and confirm that these data align with previously published population level values for human RBC. Finally, we present preliminary evidence for possible application of our device to identify individual RBCs infected with Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites. Future developments using this device will address the use of whole blood with non-homogenous cell populations, a task currently performed by clinical Coulter counters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number341226
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023


  • Boyle Van't Hoff
  • Impedance
  • Malaria detection
  • Microfluidic
  • Permeability
  • Red blood cell
  • Sensors


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