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Micromachines 2018, 9(1), 21; doi:10.3390/mi9010021

Dielectrophoresis Testing of Nonlinear Viscoelastic Behaviors of Human Red Blood Cells

Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA
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Received: 17 November 2017 / Revised: 11 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 9 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Collection Lab-on-a-Chip)
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Abstract

Dielectrophoresis in microfluidics provides a useful tool to test biomechanics of living cells, regardless of surface charges on cell membranes. We have designed an experimental method to characterize the nonlinear viscoelastic behaviors of single cells using dielectrophoresis in a microfluidic channel. This method uses radio frequency, low voltage excitations through interdigitated microelectrodes, allowing probing multiple cells simultaneously with controllable load levels. Dielectrophoretic force was calibrated using a triaxial ellipsoid model. Using a Kelvin–Voigt model, the nonlinear shear moduli of cell membranes were determined from the steady-state deformations of red blood cells in response to a series of electric field strengths. The nonlinear elastic moduli of cell membranes ranged from 6.05 µN/m to up to 20.85 µN/m, which were identified as a function of extension ratio, rather than the lumped-parameter models as reported in the literature. Value of the characteristic time of the extensional recovery of cell membranes initially deformed to varied extent was found to be about 0.14 s. Shear viscosity of cell membrane was estimated to be 0.8–2.9 (µN/m)·s. This method is particularly valuable for rapid, non-invasive probing of mechanical properties of living cells. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomechanics; viscoelasticity; red blood cells; dielectrophoresis; microfluidics biomechanics; viscoelasticity; red blood cells; dielectrophoresis; microfluidics
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Qiang, Y.; Liu, J.; Du, E. Dielectrophoresis Testing of Nonlinear Viscoelastic Behaviors of Human Red Blood Cells. Micromachines 2018, 9, 21.

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