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A transparent cell-culture microchamber with a variably controlled concentration gradient generator and flow field rectifier
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Real-time observation of cell growth provides essential information for studies such as cell migration and chemotaxis. A conventional cell incubation device is usually too clumsy for these applications. Here we report a transparent microfluidic device that has an integrated heater and a concentration gradient generator. A piece of indium tin oxide (ITO) coated glass was ablated by our newly developed visible laser-induced backside wet etching (LIBWE) so that transparent heater strips were prepared on the glass substrate. A polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microfluidic chamber with flow field rectifiers and a reagent effusion hole was fabricated by a laser and then assembled with the ITO heater so that the chamber temperature can be controlled for cell culturing. A variable chemical gradient was generated inside the chamber by combining the lateral medium flow and the flow from the effusion hole. Successful culturing was performed inside the device. Continuous long-term observation on cell growth was achieved. In this work the flow field, medium replacement, and chemical gradient in the microchamber are elaborated.
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