The dispersion of cell deformability mapping is affected not only by the resolution of the sensing system, but also by cell deformability itself. In order to extract the pure deformability characteristics of cells, it is necessary to improve the resolution of cell actuation in the sensing system, particularly in the case of active sensing, where an actuator is essential. This paper proposes a novel concept, a “flow reduction mechanism”, where a flow is generated by a macroactuator placed outside of a microfluidic chip. The flow can be drastically reduced at the cell manipulation point in a microchannel due to the elasticity embedded into the fluid circuit of the microfluidic system. The great advantage of this approach is that we can easily construct a high resolution cell manipulation system by combining a macro-scale actuator and a macro-scale position sensor, even though the resolution of the actuator is larger than the desired resolution for cell manipulation. Focusing on this characteristic, we successfully achieved the cell positioning based on a visual feedback control with a resolution of 240 nm, corresponding to one pixel of the vision system. We show that the utilization of this positioning system contributes to reducing the dispersion coming from the positioning resolution in the cell deformability mapping.
Source from: Micromachines 2014, 5(4), 1188-1201; doi:10.3390/mi5041188