Ultra-localized single cell electroporation using silicon nanowires

Nima Jokilaakso, Eric Salm, Aaron Chen, Larry Millet, Carlos Duarte Guevara, Brian Dorvel, Bobby Reddy, Amelie Eriksson Karlstrom, Yu Chen, Hongmiao Ji, Ratnasingham Sooryakumar, Rashid Bashir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Analysis of cell-to-cell variation can further the understanding of intracellular processes and the role of individual cell function within a larger cell population. The ability to precisely lyse single cells can be used to release cellular components to resolve cellular heterogeneity that might be obscured when whole populations are examined. We report a method to position and lyse individual cells on silicon nanowire and nanoribbon biological field effect transistors. In this study, HT-29 cancer cells were positioned on top of transistors by manipulating magnetic beads using external magnetic fields. Ultra-rapid cell lysis was subsequently performed by applying 600-900 mV pp at 10 MHz for as little as 2 ms across the transistor channel and the bulk substrate. We show that the fringing electric field at the device surface disrupts the cell membrane, leading to lysis from irreversible electroporation. This methodology allows rapid and simple single cell lysis and analysis with potential applications in medical diagnostics, proteome analysis and developmental biology studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-339
Number of pages4
JournalLab on a chip
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 7 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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