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Sensors 2011, 11(9), 8826-8835; doi:10.3390/s110908826

A High-Precision Micropipette Sensor for Cellular-Level Real-Time Thermal Characterization

1,* , 2
1 Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering, University of North Texas, 3940 N. Elm St, Denton, TX 76207, USA 2 Department of Nanomechanical Systems, Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials, 156 Gajungbukno, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-343, Korea 3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, POSTECH, San 31 Hyoja-Dong, Nam-Gu, Pohang, Gyungbuk 790-784, Korea
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 August 2011 / Revised: 7 September 2011 / Accepted: 7 September 2011 / Published: 13 September 2011
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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We report herein development of a novel glass micropipette thermal sensor fabricated in a cost-effective manner, which is capable of measuring steady thermal fluctuation at spatial resolution of ~2 µm with an accuracy of ±0.01 °C. We produced and tested various micrometer-sized sensors, ranging from 2 µm to 30 µm. The sensor comprises unleaded low-melting-point solder alloy (Sn-based) as a core metal inside a pulled borosilicate glass pipette and a thin film of nickel coating outside, creating a thermocouple junction at the tip. The sensor was calibrated using a thermally insulated calibration chamber, the temperature of which can be controlled with an accuracy of ±0.01 °C, and the thermoelectric power (Seebeck coefficient) of the sensor was recorded from 8.46 to 8.86 µV/°C. We have demonstrated the capability of measuring temperatures at a cellular level by inserting our temperature sensor into the membrane of a live retinal pigment epithelium cell subjected to a laser beam with a focal spot of 6 μm. We measured transient temperature profiles and the maximum temperatures were in the range of 38–55 ± 0.5 °C.
Keywords: micropipette; thermal sensor; cellular-level; laser micropipette; thermal sensor; cellular-level; laser
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Shrestha, R.; Choi, T.-Y.; Chang, W.; Kim, D. A High-Precision Micropipette Sensor for Cellular-Level Real-Time Thermal Characterization. Sensors 2011, 11, 8826-8835.

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