Microelectrode arrays, also called multielectrode arrays (MEAs), for the analysis of electrically active cells (e.g., cardiomyocytes, neurons) are an easy-to-use replacement of the patch clamp technique. The specialty of GeSiM's MEA system is the integration of the MEA chip into a microfluidic system.
The multielectrode array is micromachined on a disposable and autoclavable glass chip. Cells are grown on a support of poly(L-lysine) or laminin, which can also be structured by microcontact printing. The chip is reversibly fixed on a silicon-glass manifold (Fig. 1) containing an injector that allows to dispense various fluids into the channel. The fluid injection can be performed automatically with the Nano-PlotterTM . The whole system is mounted in an electrically shielded and thermostated housing.
As a core component of the MEA system, the microinjector, together with a dispense unit - acts as a fluidic selector valve. It comprises a micromachined sieve - "microfluidic diode" - and merges dispensed liquids into the carrier flow of the MEA flow-through-manifold.
|Fig. 3: Schematic view of the injector||1) "Microfluidic diode"|
2) Injector body
3) Spacer level
4) MEA manifold
MicCell with MEA
A recent development is the integration of MEAs into our flexible microfluidic platform, MicCell . This allows the microscopic observation of cells while their electrical signals are recorded at the same time.
|Fig. 4: Nano-Plotter pipette above the injector of a flowthrough MEA in a shielding box.||Fig. 5: MicCell with coverslip||Fig. 6: Coverslip with two MEAs.|
In collaboration with MPI für Polymerforschung, Mainz.