Spring 2013 IAB & Research Review
March 6 - 8

Plenary 12: Pramod Murali

Magnetic Particle Flow Cytometer

Flow Cytometry is a powerful technique used in health and disease diagnostics. This technique is used to analyze and sort individual cells of a biological sample. Some of the applications include, HIV and cancer detection, water quality monitoring, food safety among many others.

Commercial equipments use laser source and an optical detector to study cells labeled with fluorescent molecules. Such an approach is expensive, bulky and suffers from optical background noise. We propose to replace the fluorescent markers with magnetic nano-particles (MNPs) to be detected by CMOS chips. Apart from eliminating the need for sample preparation, this approach has the advantage of being low cost, portable and disposable.

Neelís relaxation of MNPs leads to a frequency dependent complex susceptibility behaviour. The relaxation time constant depends on the nano-particle size and material. We use this phenomenon to distinguish different cells. Currently, we are in the process of characterizing different MNPs to observe Neelís relaxation.

Our goal is to combine the advantages of CMOS technology and the numerous applications of Flow Cytometry to meet the needs of point-of-care diagnostics.