Cell Monitoring

Cell Monitoring relates to high-throughput cellular profiling and accurate toxic metal detection within biological cells. Cellular profiling stands as a pivotal tool for comprehending the intricate physiological changes that cells undergo in response to diverse stimuli, including the presence of toxic metals. Toxic metals such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury have the potential to induce a range of health issues in humans. Therefore, it becomes imperative to establish a direct connection between the degree of metal-induced toxicity and the concentration of these toxic metals within the cell. Traditional methodologies for achieving this goal are not without their drawbacks. They tend to be time-consuming, costly, and invasive, posing significant limitations to the timely and efficient assessment of cellular health in the presence of toxic metals. This underscores the necessity for a method that is non-invasive, swift, and precise, paving the way for high-throughput cellular profiling and toxic metal detection in biological cells. The innovation presented here revolves around the implementation of a near-field sensor surface tailored for high-throughput ex-vivo cellular profiling and the detection of toxic metals within biological cells.

At the heart of this approach lies the utilization of dielectric permittivity measurement with exceptional lateral resolution, enabling precise localization and detection of toxic metals within the cellular microenvironment. This sensor surface offers the unique capability to simultaneously capture real-time images and monitor various aspects of living cells, including their shape, size, and structural integrity, all over a defined period. The key advantage of this sensor surface lies in its provision of real-time images and high-throughput cellular profiling data, which empowers researchers to extract a wealth of physiological parameters. This technology holds the potential to not only streamline and accelerate toxic metal detection but also greatly enhance our understanding of cellular responses to toxic metal exposure, ultimately contributing to advancements in toxicology and the broader field of biomedical research.

State of the Art

The state of the art in near-field imaging and sensing is witnessing remarkable advancements that are redefining our ability to explore and interact with the micro and nanoscale world. Near-field imaging and sensing techniques have emerged as crucial tools in various scientific, industrial, and medical fields such as high-resolution imaging, spectroscopy at nanoscale and biological applications. In order to increase the accessibility and affordability of this technology, it is essential to explore the potential for high-density pixel integration on a single chip. 

This approach could lead to the development of compact hand-held sensors, which have the potential to revolutionize the field of biomedicine and significantly improve the efficiency of cell monitoring. Currently, cell monitoring remains a complex and time-consuming process, but with these advancements, we can simplify and accelerate these procedures.

Own research

The sensor's surface consists of an integrated circuit that can be mass-produced and tailored to generate and sense RF/THz signals across a spectrum of frequencies. In this setup, cells function as dielectric materials positioned on the surface. The dielectric permittivity of these cells changes in response to a range of cellular characteristics, encompassing factors like cell size, shape, and structure, all of which can be detected by the sensor surface. This sensor surface is engineered for the specific purpose of pinpointing and profiling cells in large quantities through dielectric permittivity measurements. 

It can identify alterations in cell proliferation rate, viability, providing insights into cellular health and responses to various stimuli. Additionally, the sensor surface can identify the presence of harmful metals, including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury within cells. It can track changes in the concentration of these toxic metals within cells over time, enabling real-time monitoring of cellular toxicity. This near-field sensor surface is applicable in diverse fields, such as toxicology screening, drug development, and environmental monitoring. Moreover, it can be seamlessly integrated into microfluidic devices, facilitating high-throughput cell screening while simultaneously detecting toxic metals.


Our vision for the future of this research is to offer a near-field sensor surface capable of revolutionizing the measurement of toxic metal concentration, life-span and cellular profiling within biological cells. This innovative sensor surface leverages dielectric permittivity measurement to identify toxic metal presence in cells, opening the door to simultaneous imaging and continuous monitoring of cell shape, structural integrity, and a wide array of physiological parameters.

This real-time imaging, coupled with high-throughput cellular profiling data, paves the way for non-invasive, swift, and precise detection of toxic metal contamination and cellular profiling in cells. We anticipate this breakthrough will find diverse applications in the field of toxicology and biology.



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