Intracellular Delivery of Nanomaterials via an Inertial Microfluidic Cell Hydroporator

Yanxiang Deng, Megan Kizer, Miran Rada, Jessica Sage, Xing Wang, Dong Joo Cheon, Aram J. Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


The introduction of nanomaterials into cells is an indispensable process for studies ranging from basic biology to clinical applications. To deliver foreign nanomaterials into living cells, traditionally endocytosis, viral and lipid nanocarriers or electroporation are mainly employed; however, they critically suffer from toxicity, inconsistent delivery, and low throughput and are time-consuming and labor-intensive processes. Here, we present a novel inertial microfluidic cell hydroporator capable of delivering a wide range of nanomaterials to various cell types in a single-step without the aid of carriers or external apparatus. The platform inertially focuses cells into the channel center and guides cells to collide at a T-junction. Controlled compression and shear forces generate transient membrane discontinuities that facilitate passive diffusion of external nanomaterials into the cell cytoplasm while maintaining high cell viability. This hydroporation method shows superior delivery efficiency, is high-throughput, and has high controllability; moreover, its extremely simple and low-cost operation provides a powerful and practical strategy in the applications of cellular imaging, biomanufacturing, cell-based therapies, regenerative medicine, and disease diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2705-2710
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 11


  • Intracellular delivery of nanomaterials
  • cell hydroporator
  • inertial microfluidics
  • macromolecule delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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