3DEP dielectrophoresis is a new, more powerful and much simpler method of using dielectrophoresis. Dielectrophoresis (DEP) is a technique that analyses the way in which cells move in electric fields at different frequencies. Think of it as being like electrophoresis for cells, but with the added advantage of looking at AC behaviour – an additional dimension that unlocks the ability to determine not only the net electrical properties of the cells, but the separate capacitance and resistance values for the cell membrane and cytoplasm.
The 3DEP system uses a patented chip design which is low-cost, simple to use and allows the analysis of thousands of cells simultaneously. Using a novel approach to chip design, the cells are analysed in “wells”, about a millimeter in both height and diameter, around the perimeter of which are gold-plated electrodes. These draw cells towards or away from the cell wall; the motion of the cells is tracked and a measurement taken.
The 3DEP, can analyse 20 wells simultaneously, allowing rapid analysis; whereas typical DEP measurements in the past would take 2-3 hours, the 3DEP takes only ten seconds.
Applications include – Apoptosis, stem cell differentiation and cancer cell detection.