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Organic electrochemical transistors for cell-based impedance sensing
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Electrical impedance sensing of biological systems, especially cultured epithelial cell layers, is now a common technique to monitor cell motion, morphology, and cell layer/tissue integrity for high throughput toxicology screening. Existing methods to measure electrical impedance most often rely on a two electrode configuration, where low frequency signals are challenging to obtain for small devices and for tissues with high resistance, due to low current. Organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs) are conducting polymer-based devices, which have been shown to efficiently transduce and amplify low-level ionic fluxes in biological systems into electronic output signals. In this work, we combine OECT-based drain current measurements with simultaneous measurement of more traditional impedance sensing using the gate current to produce complex impedance traces, which show low error at both low and high frequencies. We apply this technique in vitro to a model epithelial tissue layer and show that the data can be fit to an equivalent circuit model yielding trans-epithelial resistance and cell layer capacitance values in agreement with literature. Importantly, the combined measurement allows for low biases across the cell layer, while still maintaining good broadband signal.
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