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Open AccessArticle

Time Sequential Single-Cell Patterning with High Efficiency and High Density

State Key Laboratory of Precision Measurement Technology and Instruments, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR), RIKEN, 1-3 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
Division of Materials Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, 8916-5 Takayama-cho, Ikoma, Nara 630-0192, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2018, 18(11), 3672;
Received: 23 September 2018 / Revised: 24 October 2018 / Accepted: 25 October 2018 / Published: 29 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Chemical Sensors)
PDF [2467 KB, uploaded 29 October 2018]


Single-cell capture plays an important role in single-cell manipulation and analysis. This paper presents a microfluidic device for deterministic single-cell trapping based on the hydrodynamic trapping mechanism. The device is composed of an S-shaped loop channel and thousands of aligned trap units. This arrayed structure enables each row of the device to be treated equally and independently, as it has row periodicity. A theoretical model was established and a simulation was conducted to optimize the key geometric parameters, and the performance was evaluated by conducting experiments on MCF-7 and Jurkat cells. The results showed improvements in single-cell trapping ability, including loading efficiency, capture speed, and the density of the patterned cells. The optimized device can achieve a capture efficiency of up to 100% and single-cell capture efficiency of up to 95%. This device offers 200 trap units in an area of 1 mm2, which enables 100 single cells to be observed simultaneously using a microscope with a 20× objective lens. One thousand cells can be trapped sequentially within 2 min; this is faster than the values obtained with previously reported devices. Furthermore, the cells can also be recovered by reversely infusing solutions. The structure can be easily extended to a large scale, and a patterned array with 32,000 trap sites was accomplished on a single chip. This device can be a powerful tool for high-throughput single-cell analysis, cell heterogeneity investigation, and drug screening. View Full-Text
Keywords: cell patterning; cell trapping; single-cell analysis; microfluidics; lab-on-a-chip cell patterning; cell trapping; single-cell analysis; microfluidics; lab-on-a-chip

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Liu, Y.; Ren, D.; Ling, X.; Liang, W.; Li, J.; You, Z.; Yalikun, Y.; Tanaka, Y. Time Sequential Single-Cell Patterning with High Efficiency and High Density. Sensors 2018, 18, 3672.

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