Characterization of cellular dielectrophoretic (DEP) behaviors, when cells are exposed to an alternating current (AC) electric field of varying frequency, is fundamentally important to many applications using dielectrophoresis. However, to date, that characterization has been performed with monotonically increasing or decreasing frequency, not with successive increases and decreases, even though cells might behave differently with those frequency modulations due to the nonlinear cellular electrodynamic responses reported in previous works. In this report, we present a method to trace the behaviors of numerous cells simultaneously at the single-cell level in a simple, robust manner using dielectrophoretic tweezers-based force spectroscopy. Using this method, the behaviors of more than 150 cells were traced in a single environment at the same time, while a modulated DEP force acted upon them, resulting in characterization of nonlinear DEP cellular behaviors and generation of different cross-over frequencies in living cells by modulating the DEP force. This study demonstrated that living cells can have non-linear di-polarized responses depending on the modulation direction of the applied frequency as well as providing a simple and reliable platform from which to measure a cellular cross-over frequency and characterize its nonlinear property.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering