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Malaria is a tropical disease caused by parasites in the genus Plasmodium, which still presents 241 million cases and nearly 627,000 deaths recently. In this work, we used the dielectrophoresis (DEP) to characterize red blood cells in a microchannel. The purpose of this work is to determine the difference between the normal and the malaria-infected cells based on the DEP characteristics. The samples were infected cells and normal red blood cells, which were either prepared in culture or obtained from volunteers. Diamond-shaped and curved micropillars were used to create different degrees of DEP in the gap between them. The DEP crossover frequencies were observed with the diamond-shaped micropillars. The cell velocity under negative dielectrophoresis (nDEP) at a low frequency was examined with the curved micropillars. The measured lower crossover frequencies were remarkably different between the malaria-infected cells and the normal cells, whereas the higher crossover frequencies were similar among the samples. The velocity under nDEP was lower for the infected cells than the normal cells. The results imply that the malaria infection significantly decreases the capacitance but increases the conductance of the cell membrane, whereas a change in cytoplasmic conductivity may occur in a later stage of infection.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1837 - 1846


crossover frequency, dielectrophoresis, electrical properties, malaria, red blood cells, Humans, Erythrocytes, Malaria, Cytoplasm, Cell Membrane, Electric Conductivity, Electrophoresis