High-throughput cell and particle characterization using isodielectric separation

M. D. Vahey, J. Voldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Separations can be broadly categorized as preparative, where the objective is to extract purified quantities of a sample from a complex mixture, or analytic, where the goal is to determine and quantify the contents of the original mixture. Here we demonstrate the application of a new microfluidic separation method, isodielectric separation (IDS), to a range of analytic separations involving cells and particles spanning several orders of magnitude in volume and electrical conductivity. In IDS, cells are dielectrophoretically concentrated to the region along an electrical conductivity gradient where their polarizability vanishes; by measuring this position-the isodielectric point (IDP)-as operating conditions such as the frequency and voltage of the applied electric field are varied, we are able to sort cells or particles with distinct IDPs while simultaneously characterizing their electrical properties. We apply this technique to measure the electrical properties of polystyrene microspheres, viable and nonviable cells of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and murine pro B cells, including how these electrical properties vary with the electrical conductivity of the surrounding solvent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2446-2455
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009


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