We propose a method to characterize the mechanical properties of cells using a robot-integrated microfluidic chip (robochip) and microscopy. The microfluidic chip is designed to apply the specified deformations to a single detached cell using an on-chip actuator probe. The reaction force is simultaneously measured using an on-chip force sensor composed of a hollow folded beam and probe structure. In order to measure the cellular characteristics in further detail, a sub-pixel level of resolution of probe position is required. Therefore, we utilize the phase detection of moiré fringe. Using this method, the experimental resolution of the probe position reaches 42 nm. This is approximately ten times smaller than the optical wavelength, which is the limit of sharp imaging with a microscope. Calibration of the force sensor is also important in accurately measuring cellular reaction forces. We calibrated the spring constant from the frequency response, by the proposed sensing method of the probe position. As a representative of mechanical characteristics, we measured the elastic modulus of Madin-Darby Cannie Kidney (MDCK) cells. In spite of the rigid spring constant, the resolution and sensitivity were twice that achieved in our previous study. Unique cellular characteristics can be elucidated by the improvements in sensing resolution and accuracy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering