Conference paper

Stretching cells with DEAs

Biological cells regulate their biochemical behavior in response to mechanical stress present in their organism. Most of the available cell cultures designed to study the effect of mechanical stimuli on cells are cm2 area, far too large to monitor single cell response or have a very low throughput. We have developed two sets of high throughput single cell stretcher devices based on dielectric elastomer microactuators to stretch groups of individual cells with various strain levels in a single experiment. The first device consists of an array of 100 μm x 200 μm actuators on a non-stretched PDMS membrane bonded to a Pyrex chip, showing up to 4.7% strain at the electric field of 96 V/μm. The second device contains an array of 100 μm x 100 μm actuators on a 160% uniaxially prestretched PDMS membrane suspended over a frame. 37% strain is recorded at the nominal electric field of 114 V/μm. The performance of these devices as a cell stretcher is assessed by comparing their static and dynamic behavior.

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