Subject Area

Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering, Biophysics, Mechanical Engineering


Dielectric properties of biological cells are functions of cellular structure, content, state, and phenotype. Dielectric spectroscopy (DS) is a nondestructive method to characterize dielectric properties by measuring impedance data over a frequency range. This method has been widely used for various applications such as counting, sizing, and monitoring biological cells and particles. Recently, this method has been suggested to be utilized in various stages of the drug discovery process due to its low sample consumption and fast analysis time.

In this thesis, we have developed a lab-on-a-chip device that uses an electro-activated microwells array for capturing, making DS measurements on, and unloading of biological cells. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first microfluidic chip that combines electro‐activated microwells and DS to analyze biological cells. We demonstrated that our device enabled real-time measurements of dielectric properties of live cancer cells and allowed the assessment of the cellular response to variations in buffer conductivity and pH. Moreover, we proved that this device is capable of quantitatively measuring drug effects on biological cells, and the results show that the proposed microfluidic system has the potential to be used in early stages of the drug discovery process.

Degree Date

Summer 2019

Document Type


Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering


Ali Beskok

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License