Friday, August 19, 2016

Single cell ionization by a laser trap: a preliminary study in measuring radiation dose and charge in BT20 breast carcinoma cells

Michele Kelley, Ying Gao, and Daniel Erenso

In this work, a preliminary study in the application of a laser trap for ionization of living carcinoma cells is presented. The study was conducted using BT20 breast carcinoma cells cultured and harvested in our laboratory. Each cell, for a total of 50 cells, was trapped and ionized by a high intensity infrared laser at 1064 nm. The threshold radiation dose and the resultant charge from the ionization for each cell were determined. With the laser trap serving as a radiation source, the cell underwent dielectric breakdown of the membrane. When this process occurs, the cell becomes highly charged and its dielectric susceptibility changes. The charge creates an increasing electrostatic force while the changing dielectric susceptibility diminishes the strength of the trapping force. Consequently, at some instant of time the cell gets ejected from the trap. The time inside the trap while the cell is being ionized, the intensity of the radiation, and the post ionization trajectory of the cell were used to determine the threshold radiation dose and the charge for each cell. The measurement of the charge vs ionization radiation dose at single cell level could be useful in the accuracy of radiotherapy as the individual charges can collectively create a strong enough electrical interaction to cause dielectric breakdown in other cells in a tumor.

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