Area cooling enables thermal positioning and manipulation of single cells†
Contactless particle manipulation based on a thermal field has shown great potential for biological, medical, and materials science applications. However, thermal diffusion from a high-temperature area causes thermal damage to bio-samples. Besides, the permanent bonding of a sample chamber onto microheater substrates requires that the thermal field devices be non-disposable. These limitations impede use of the thermal manipulation approach. Here, a novel manipulation platform is proposed that combines microheaters and an area cooling system to produce enough force to steer sedimentary particles or cells and to limit the thermal diffusion. It uses the one-time fabricated motherboard and an exchangeable sample chamber that provides disposable use. Sedimentary objects can be steered to the bottom center of the thermal field by combined thermal convection and thermophoresis. Single particle or cell manipulation is realized by applying multiple microheaters in the platform. Results of a cell viability test confirmed the method's compatibility in biology fields. With its advantages of biocompatibility for live cells, operability for different sizes of particles and flexibility of platform fabrication, this novel manipulation platform has a high potential to become a powerful tool for biology research.