Separation of individual neurons using dielectrophoretic alternative current fields

Shalini Prasad, Xuan Zhang, Mo Yang, Yingchun Ni, Vladimir Parpura, Cengiz S. Ozkan, Mihrimah Ozkan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Experimental investigations into the dynamics of neuronal networks are a fundamental step towards understanding how the nervous system works. Memory formation and development are associated with changes in the electrical activity of the neurons. To understand the changes in the electrical activity, it is essential to conduct in vitro studies on individual neurons. Hence, there is an enormous need to develop novel ways for isolating and localizing individual neurons. To this end, we designed and fabricated a 4×4 multiple microelectrode array system to spatially arrange neurons by generating dielectrophoretic traps using gradient alternating current (AC) fields. We characterized the electric field distribution inside our test platform by using three-dimensional finite element modeling (FEM) and estimated the location of neurons over the electrode array. As the first stage in forming a neuronal network, dielectrophoretic AC fields were employed to separate the neurons from the glial cells and to position individual neurons over single electrodes. The extracellular electrical activity from a single neuron was recorded. The frequency spectrum of the electrical activity was generated using fast Fourier transformation analysis (FFT) to determine the characteristic burst rates of individual neurons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-88
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Dielectrophoresis
  • Finite element modeling
  • Micro electrode arrays
  • Neuron patterning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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