Design and fabrication of microfluidic devices integrated with an open‐ended MEMS probe for single‐cell impedance measurement

Research paper by Ling-Sheng Jang, Hsin-Hung Li, Jen-Yu Jao, Ming-Kun Chen, Chia-Feng Liu

Indexed on: 29 Jul '09Published on: 29 Jul '09Published in: Microfluidics and nanofluidics


When an electrical current with a low frequency is applied to a cell, the current passes through the outside of the cell. Thus, impedance measurements at low frequencies cannot be used to determine the pathological change of the cellular organelle taking place inside the cell. However, increasing the frequency of the electrical current makes the capacitive impedance of the cell decrease, allowing the electrical current to flow through the cell. This study presents the design and fabrication of a microfluidic device integrated with a coplanar waveguide open-ended micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS) probe for the impedance measurement of the single HeLa cell in frequencies between 1 MHz and 1 GHz. The device includes a poly-dimethlysiloxane (PDMS) cover with a microchannel and microstructures to capture the single HeLa cell and a conductor-backed CPW fabricated using a silicon chip and two printed circuit boards (PCB). The effects of the substrate on the characteristic impedance of the conductor-backed coplanar waveguide (CBCPW) structure were investigated under three conditions by utilizing a time-domain reflectometer (TDR). Finally, impedance measurements using the proposed device and a vector network analyzer (VNA) are demonstrated for de-ionized (DI) water, alcohol, PBS, and a single HeLa cell.