High-speed microfluidic thermal stimulator for temperature-activated ion channel studies
Pennell, Thomas, II
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For this thesis I have designed and built a microfluidic thermal chip that provides rapid temperature changes in the solution combined with accurate temperature control. The thermal chip was designed to facilitate the patch-clamp to study temperature dependent activities of ion channels. The device consists of a fluid channel for perfusing solution connected to an accessible reservoir for making patch-clamp measurements on individual cells. A thin film platinum heater was used to generate rapid temperature change and the temperature was monitored using a thin film resistor. The thermal chip was constructed using SU-8 materials on a glass wafer to minimize the heat loss to the substrate and channel walls. The chip was characterized for various flow rates ranging from 6.1 μL/min to 34 μL/min with heater power ranging from 7.2 to 256 mW. The heating element is capable of alternating the temperature ranging from bath temperature (20°C) to 90°C at maximum heating rate of 0.5 C/ms. Using the chip, patch clamp recordings were made on cultured HEK cells as the temperature was rapidly varied. The results demonstrated that the thermal chip could be used as a thermal clamp for various thermosensitive ion channel studies.