Going with the flow

Sep 12, 2012

Scientists who study tissue engineering and test new drugs often need to sort, rotate, move, and otherwise manipulate individual cells. They can do this by prodding the cells into place with a mechanical probe or coaxing them in the desired direction with acoustic waves, electric fields, or flowing fluids.

Techniques that rely on direct physical contact can position individual cells with a high level of precision while non-contact techniques are often faster for sorting large numbers of cells.

An international team of researchers has now developed a way to manipulate cells that combines some of the benefits of both contact and non-contact methods.

The researchers suspended a tiny plate in a microfluidic channel and used magnetic controls to move the plate up and down and back and forth.

The movements generated fluid that varied depending on characteristics of the oscillations such as frequency, magnitude, and phase, and the relative position of the plate and the channel wall.

Changing these parameters allowed the researchers to create different streamlines that either pulled or pushed a cell toward or away from the plate, as well as vortices that rotated the cell. When the cell reached the plate the researchers could also use the plate for precise, direct-contact manipulations.

The researchers demonstrated the technique, which they describe in a paper published in the ' journal , by manipulating a single bovine .

As a next step, the team plans to demonstrate control of multiple cells simultaneously.

Explore further: Imaging turns a corner

More information: "Local streamline generation by mechanical oscillation in a microfluidic chip for noncontact cell manipulations" is published in Applied Physics Letters, apl.aip.org/resource/1/applab/v101/i7/p074102_s1

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microtechnology: Miniature magnetic switches

Apr 14, 2011

Transistors are commonly used in electronics as switches to turn an electrical current on or off. For applications that require a very large ratio between the on and off current, however, it is necessary to ...

Modeling metastasis

Aug 24, 2012

Cancer metastasis, the escape and spread of primary tumor cells, is a common cause of cancer-related deaths. But metastasis remains poorly understood. Studies indicate that when a primary tumor breaks through ...

Droplets that Roll Uphill

Sep 24, 2007

A recent experiment conducted by physicists at University of Bristol in the United Kingdom has shown that liquid drops can defy gravity. Droplets of liquid on an inclined plate that is shaken up and down can ...

Raising the prospects for quantum levitation

Apr 18, 2012

More than half-a-century ago, the Dutch theoretical physicist Hendrik Casimir calculated that two mirrors placed facing each other in a vacuum would attract. The mysterious force arises from the energy of virtual particles ...

How dangerous are air pollutants really?

Apr 08, 2010

How severely do smog, diesel exhaust and secondhand smoke damage the lungs? What do pollen or nanoparticles trigger when they infiltrate the human body through inhaling? At this year's BIO Convention in Chicago ...

Study derives floor plate tissue from embryonic stem cells

Apr 01, 2010

Christopher Fasano, PhD, from the New York Neural Stem Cell Institute, is lead author on a study that investigating human neural development. Dr. Fasano conducted this work while working as a post-doctoral fellow at Memorial ...

Recommended for you

Imaging turns a corner

32 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —Scientists have developed a new microscope which enables a dramatically improved view of biological cells.

Mapping the road to quantum gravity

14 hours ago

The road uniting quantum field theory and general relativity – the two great theories of modern physics – has been impassable for 80 years. Could a tool from condensed matter physics finally help map ...

Steering chemical reactions with laser pulses

21 hours ago

With ultra-short laser pulses, chemical reactions can be controlled at the Vienna University of Technology. Electrons have little mass and are therefore influenced by the laser, whereas the atomic nuclei ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Phase transiting to a new quantum universe

(Phys.org) —Recent insight and discovery of a new class of quantum transition opens the way for a whole new subfield of materials physics and quantum technologies.

Imaging turns a corner

(Phys.org) —Scientists have developed a new microscope which enables a dramatically improved view of biological cells.

When things get glassy, molecules go fractal

Colorful church windows, beads on a necklace and many of our favorite plastics share something in common—they all belong to a state of matter known as glasses. School children learn the difference between ...

Fresh hope for preventing pneumonia in the elderly

There are calls for the frail and elderly not be be overlooked for vaccines against pneumonia this winter, with UNSW research challenging conventional wisdom on immunisation effectiveness in older patients.

NASA image: Volcanoes in Guatemala

This photo of volcanoes in Guatemala was taken from NASA's C-20A aircraft during a four-week Earth science radar imaging mission deployment over Central and South America. The conical volcano in the center ...