Cell transport via electromigration in polymer-based microfluidic devices

Document Type


Publication Date



Electrokinetic transport of Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker's yeast) cells was evaluated in microfluidic devices fabricated in pristine and UV-modified poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and polycarbonate (PC). Chip-to-chip reproducibility of the cell's apparent mobilities (μapp) varied slightly with a RSD of ∼10%. The highest μapp for baker's yeast cells was observed in UV-modified PC with 0.5 mM PBS (pH = 7.4), and the lowest was measured in pristine PMMA with 20 mM PBS (pH = 7.4). Baker's yeast in all devices migrated toward the cathode because of their smaller electrophoretic mobility compared to the EOF. In 0.5 mM and 1 mM PBS, E. coli cells migrated toward the anode in all cases, opposite to the direction of the EOF due to their larger electrophoretic mobility. E. coli cells in 20 mM PBS migrated toward the cathode, which indicated that the electrophoretic mobility of E. coli cells decreased at higher ionic strengths. Observed differential migrations of E. coli and baker's yeast cells in appropriately prepared polymer microchips were used as the basis for selective introduction into microfluidic devices of only one type of cell. As a working model, experiments were performed with E. coli and RBCs (red blood cells). RBCs migrated toward the cathode in pristine PMMA with 1 mM and 20 mM PBS (pH = 7.4), opposite to the direction of the E. coli cells. By judicious choice of the buffer concentration in which the cell suspension was prepared and the polymer material, RBCs or E. coli cells were selectively introduced into the microdevice, which was monitored via laser backscatter signals.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Lab on a Chip

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.