Low level epifluorescent detection of nanoparticles and DNA on dielectrophoretic microarrays

James P. Mccanna, Avery Sonnenberg, Michael J. Heller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Common epifluorescent microscopy lacks the sensitivity to detect low levels of analytes directly in clinical samples, such as drug delivery nanoparticles or disease related DNA biomarkers. Advanced systems such as confocal microscopes may improve detection, but several factors limit their applications. This study now demonstrates that combining an epifluorescent microscope with a dielectrophoretic (DEP) microelectrode array device enables the detection of nanoparticles and DNA biomarkers at clinically relevant levels. Using DEP microarray devices, nanoparticles and DNA biomarkers are rapidly isolated and concentrated onto specific microscopic locations where they are easily detected by epifluorescent microscopy. In this study, 40nm nanoparticles were detected down to 2-3 × 103/ul levels and DNA was detected down to the 200 pg/ml level. The synergy of epifluorescent microscopy and DEP microarray devices provides a new paradigm for DNA biomarker diagnostics and the monitoring of drug delivery nanoparticle concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)863-873
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood
  • DNA
  • Dielectrophoresis
  • Epifluorescent microscope
  • Microelectrode array
  • Nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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