Radio-frequency microtools for particle and live cell manipulation
Single particles can be manipulated by applying high frequencies to ultramicro electrode arrays fabricated on planar structures. Heat production can be reduced to the extent that intense electric fields can be applied even to unmodified cell culture media. Animal cells grow normally in the high field (up to 100 kV/m) between such continuously energized multielectrodes. As with laser tweezers (1-3), this technique can capture particles and cells in field traps, generate linear movement, and permit cell cultivation. It can also produce micropatterns of pH gradients, field-cast objects, and control cell adhesion. These microtools may be combined to develop cell separators, microsensors, and controlled-biocompatibility surfaces.