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We present a microchip and trapping methodology based on negative dielectrophoresis (nDEP), whereby living cells were manipulated and positioned into an array with high trapping efficiency while maintaining good viability. The main factors that ensured good viability of cells were investigated including temperature of medium, extra transmembrane potential on cells, and electrolysis effect in DEP-based trapping. Optimum DEP conditions for the microchip were determined by considering both biocompatibility and trapping efficiency. Experiments demonstrated that under a voltage of 3.6–4 Vpp and at a frequency of 100 kHz, HeLa cells could be trapped and positioned into an array in less than 10 s while maintaining good viability. The normal adherence morphology and fluorescence of the cells, dyed with propidium iodide and Calcein-AM, were observed and verified the biocompatibility of the microchip and trapping methodology.


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