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Design and Characterization of a BioMEMS Device for In-Vitro Mechanical Stimulation of Single Adherent Cells

[+] Author Affiliations
Hrishikesh V. Panchawagh, David Serrell, Dudley S. Finch, Roop L. Mahajan

University of Colorado at Boulder

Tammy Oreskovic

NIST Boulder

Paper No. IMECE2005-79980, pp. 19-25; 7 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Microelectromechanical Systems
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Microelectromechanical Systems Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4224-X | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


This paper presents development of a BioMEMS device to mechanically stimulate single adherent cells by means of electrostatic actuation. The main components of the proposed device include a platform for cell placement and an electrostatic comb drive actuator to provide in-plane motion. A high frequency actuation method was used to enable actuation in aqueous solutions. Displacements greater than 5μm were measured when the device was actuated with a 1 MHz square wave signal with 10V peak amplitude in DI water. Additionally, this device was successfully actuated in ionic solutions up to 50mM NaCl aqueous solution using frequencies greater than 30 MHz. Significant electrolysis and corrosion of the polysilicon and metal layers was observed when the devices were actuated in saline solutions with peak voltages greater than 15V, thus indicating that there is a limit on the maximum actuation voltage that can be used. No noticeable actuation was observed in phosphate buffer solution (PBS) or cell culture medium even when frequencies as high as 50 MHz were used due to ion migration. Theoretical calculations suggest that frequencies of the order of 100-500 MHz will be required for actuation in cell culture media. Currently we are in the process of building an experimental set-up to allow use of such high frequencies. Initial results for cell plating experiments on the cell stretcher platform and other considerations for device implementation are discussed in the end.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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