Author(s): Junya Suehiro, Ronald Pethig
We describe a three-dimensional grid electrode system, in which a biological cell can be precisely moved or positioned by positive and negative dielectrophoresis. The electrode system consists of two glass plates, on which parallel strip electrodes are fabricated, placed together with a spacer between them so that their electrodes face each other and cross at right angles to form the grid. The microelectrodes of width and spacing have been fabricated using two different materials and methods. For one method, electrodes of thin gold-on-chrome film on a glass substrate were fabricated using photolithography, whilst the other method employed excimer laser ablation of indium tin oxide (ITO) thin films on glass. The ITO electrodes have the advantage over conventional metal electrodes of higher optical transparency, which allows visual observation of cells' behaviour in three dimensions. It has been demonstrated that a plant protoplast, whose diameter was almost identical to the electrode's size, could be continuously moved between grid intersections by controlling the magnitude and frequency of the ac signals applied to the electrodes.