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DEPtech 3DEP Reader

A Dielectrophoresis Cell Anaylsis System

The 3DEP system

uses a patented chip design which is low cost, simple to use and allows the analysis of thousands of cells simultaneously.


Low cost disposable chips suitable for a large range of cell types from large myocytes to bacteria.


Applications include cancer diagnostics, monitoring apoptosis, stem-cell differentiation, drug discovery, in-vitro toxicology and many more.

Cell and Particle Characterisation

For particle characterisation, DEP-Well devices are closed at the base to form wells like those on a standard well plate. The samples are contained inside the wells and monitored by a reader from above or below. Compared to conventional micro-fabricated devices, extracting results from DEP-Wells is significantly easier. The sample cells are either attracted or repelled from the well side by an amount proportional to their polarisability. If the well is probed with a light beam, positive DEP pulls the cells to the wall and the well lightens (less absorbance) while negative DEP pushes the cells into the centre and the well darkens (more absorbance). The strength of the force is proportional to the rate at which the light intensity changes. By monitoring the changes in light intensity, several wells can be used in parallel to increase throughput. To increase flexibility further, DEP-well chips have addressable wells that allow the user to apply different frequencies to wells on the same chip. This flexible approach also allows the manufacturing of a wide range of devices, from small DEP-Spectra Chips that analyse only one sample to DEP-Well plates up to a 1536 well-plate format. Dielectrophoretic multi-well plates are assay formats for cell characterisation in modern laboratories. The possibility of performing and analysing a large number of experiments in parallel has become an important tool in drug discovery and high-throughput screening. With DEP-Well technology, dielectrophoretic analysis can be integrated and combined with conventional and emerging well-plate systems to perform label-free dielectrophoretic high-throughput screening.


  • DEP-Wells are filled with bacterial or cell suspension.
  • Positive dielectrophoresis removes the cell from the bulk liquid and reduces light scattering.
  • Negative dielectrophoresis focuses particles in the centre of the well and increases light scattering.
  • The strength and direction of the force can be quantified by measuring the amount of transmitted light.
  • DEP-Well plates can be used to characterise particles and thereby identify changes in their electrophysiology during interactions with drugs. This can rapidly identify processes such as drug resistance or apoptosis. Probing the DEP-Well at different field frequencies and comparing the amount of transmitted light allows measurement properties of the cell wall, cell membrane or cytoplasm. Applying different frequencies in parallel to a number of wells allows the measurement of the spectral response in only one step to measure interactions between a drug and cells against time. Mixtures of different cells can be quantified and separated by applying a defined sequence of field frequencies to the well.