The University of Southampton

Nano group researchers win best paper award

12 May 2008

Researchers in the ECS Nano Group have won the 2007 award for best paper in Measurement Science, given by the Institute of Physics journal, Measurement Science and Technology.

The paper, 'Broadband single cell impedance spectroscopy using maximum length sequences: theoretical analysis and practical considerations' was written by Tao Sun, Shady Gawad, Catia Bernabini, Nicolas G Green and Hywel Morgan.

It describes a novel impedance spectroscopic measurement method for applications in the identification of biological cells. The frequency-dependent impedance is obtained in the frequency domain by applying a fast M-sequence transform (FMT), and a fast Fourier transform (FFT) in the time domain response. Using FMT, the evaluation takes place within a short timescale of the order of milliseconds. This technique is used in a microfluidic impedance cytometer, for the analysis of single biological cells in suspension. The theory of the technique is analysed in depth. It is then applied to an experimental system that characterizes the impedance spectrum of red blood cells within the microfluidic system. Measured spectra show good agreement with simulations.

The journal citation noted: 'The paper has a short but excellent introduction, supported by a solid reference list of about 55 papers describing related work. Most of these papers are citations from 2000 onwards. This is followed by a detailed analysis of maximum length sequences and theory used for predictions of spectra. It then continues with a useful description of a cytometer that was used to confirm theoretical predictions of spectra. Results are at an early stage.

'The system is still under development, since there are issues arising from the fact that the particle flows during the acquisition of data, and is not static in the electric field as assumed by the model. Nevertheless, the paper possesses good clarity of the motivation behind the work, of the measurement techniques developed and of the potential relevance to applications in the life sciences.'

In April, Weidong Gong, a third-year PhD student in the Nano Group, supervised by Professor Hywel Morgan, Dr Michael Kraft and Dr Matt Mowlem, won third prize in the student poster competition at the Conference Oceans'08 MTS/IEEE Kobe-Techno-Ocean-08, held in Japan. The subject of his poster was 'Oceanographic sensor for in-situ temperature and conductivity monitoring'. He has already designed a double beam spectrosocopy for nitrite sensor, and is also developing a precision temperature and conductivity sensor for in-situ application.

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