Continuous differential impedance spectroscopy of single cells

Daniele Malleo, J. Tanner Nevill, Luke P. Lee, Hywel Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


A device for continuous differential impedance analysis of single cells held by a hydrodynamic cell trapping is presented. Measurements are accomplished by recording the current from two closely-situated electrode pairs, one empty (reference) and one containing a cell. We demonstrate time-dependent measurement of single cell impedance produced in response to dynamic chemical perturbations. First, the system is used to assay the response of HeLa cells to the effects of the surfactant Tween, which reduces the impedance of the trapped cells in a concentration dependent way and is interpreted as gradual lysis of the cell membrane. Second, the effects of the bacterial pore-forming toxin, Streptolysin-O are measured: a transient exponential decay in the impedance is recorded as the cell membrane becomes increasingly permeable. The decay time constant is inversely proportional to toxin concentration (482, 150, and 30 s for 0.1, 1, and 10 kU/ml, respectively).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-198
Number of pages8
JournalMicrofluidics and Nanofluidics
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors would like to acknowledge the support from a UK IRC in Bio-nanotechnology (DM), National Science Foundation (Career Award: Biomolecular Nanoelectronic Junctions), National Institutes of Health (NIH) Nanomedicine Development Centers Funding (JTN), NDSEG Fellowship (JTN), and GlaxoSmithKline for financial contributions, Dino Di Carlo for help, and the UC Berkeley Microlab and the University of Southampton ORC for clean room facilities.


  • Impedance spectroscopy
  • Microfabrication
  • Microfluidic
  • Single-cell analysis


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