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Patterning Cells with the Flip of a Switch for Bioengineering Applications

G. Zhang
Clemson U, SC, USA
J. Brcka, J. Faguet, E. Lee
Tokyo Electron, TX, USA

Dielectrophoresis (DEP) is a method of patterning cells and particles used in medical, electronics, and energy applications. When an electric field is applied to an array of cells or dielectric particles suspended in a medium, they become polarized, causing movement that reorganizes the particles. This is an efficient way to assemble materials layer by layer at the nanoscale, and is sometimes used in mass production of materials. Through a partnership between Clemson University and Tokyo Electron U.S. Holdings, Inc., researchers are analyzing unexpected particle rotation and alignments they have observed during cell patterning. They have used COMSOL Multiphysics models to understand cell patterns and material assembly; their simulations account for nonhomogeneous cell properties and electric field distortions, which they are analyzing to predict the influence of DEP force on this behavior.

COMSOL simulation results showing the surface polarization of a particle when the particle is suspended in a medium where a non-uniform electric field is applied.