Massively parallel manipulation of single cells and microparticles using optical images

Nature. 2005 Jul 21;436(7049):370-2. doi: 10.1038/nature03831.


The ability to manipulate biological cells and micrometre-scale particles plays an important role in many biological and colloidal science applications. However, conventional manipulation techniques--including optical tweezers, electrokinetic forces (electrophoresis, dielectrophoresis, travelling-wave dielectrophoresis), magnetic tweezers, acoustic traps and hydrodynamic flows--cannot achieve high resolution and high throughput at the same time. Optical tweezers offer high resolution for trapping single particles, but have a limited manipulation area owing to tight focusing requirements; on the other hand, electrokinetic forces and other mechanisms provide high throughput, but lack the flexibility or the spatial resolution necessary for controlling individual cells. Here we present an optical image-driven dielectrophoresis technique that permits high-resolution patterning of electric fields on a photoconductive surface for manipulating single particles. It requires 100,000 times less optical intensity than optical tweezers. Using an incoherent light source (a light-emitting diode or a halogen lamp) and a digital micromirror spatial light modulator, we have demonstrated parallel manipulation of 15,000 particle traps on a 1.3 x 1.0 mm2 area. With direct optical imaging control, multiple manipulation functions are combined to achieve complex, multi-step manipulation protocols.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / radiation effects
  • Cell Separation / instrumentation
  • Cell Separation / methods
  • Cell Survival
  • Electronics / instrumentation
  • Electronics / methods
  • Electrophoresis / instrumentation
  • Electrophoresis / methods*
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Micromanipulation / instrumentation
  • Micromanipulation / methods*
  • Optics and Photonics* / instrumentation
  • Particle Size
  • Sensitivity and Specificity