Two-dimensional single-cell patterning with one cell per well driven by surface acoustic waves

David John Collins, Belinda Joan Morahan, Jose Garcia-Bustos, Christian Daniel Doerig, Magdalena Plebanski, Adrian Neild

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261 Citations (Scopus)


In single-cell analysis, cellular activity and parameters are assayed on an individual, rather than population-average basis. Essential to observing the activity of these cells over time is the ability to trap, pattern and retain them, for which previous single-cell-patterning work has principally made use of mechanical methods. While successful as a long-term cell-patterning strategy, these devices remain essentially single use. Here we introduce a new method for the patterning of multiple spatially separated single particles and cells using high-frequency acoustic fields with one cell per acoustic well. We characterize and demonstrate patterning for both a range of particle sizes and the capture and patterning of cells, including human lymphocytes and red blood cells infected by the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum. This ability is made possible by a hitherto unexplored regime where the acoustic wavelength is on the same order as the cell dimensions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 11
Number of pages11
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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