A single cell electroporation chip

Michelle Khine, Adrian Lau, Cristian Ionescu-Zanetti, Jeonggi Seo, Luke P. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

273 Scopus citations


Increasing the cell membrane's permeability can be accomplished via single cell electroporation. Polar substances that cannot otherwise permeate the plasma membrane (such as dyes, drugs, DNA, proteins, peptides, and amino acids) can thus be introduced into the cell. We developed a polymeric chip that can selectively immobilize and locally electroporate single cells. This easy-to-use chip focuses the electric field, eliminating the need to manipulate electrodes or glass pipettes. Moreover, this device allows parallel single cell electroporation. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our device design by electroporating HeLa cells using low applied voltages (< 1 V). We found the average transmembrane potential required for electroporation of HeLa cells to be 0.51 ± 0.13 V. Membrane permeation is assessed electrically by measuring characteristic 'jumps' in current that correspond to drops in cell resistance, and microscopically by recording either the escape of cytoplasmic dye Calcein AM or the entrance of Trypan blue stain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-43
Number of pages6
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


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