Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Nathan Gallant, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Rasim Guldiken, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Hess, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Garrett Matthews, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ryan Toomey, Ph.D.


Atomic Force Microscopy, Faraday Waves, Fluorescent Microscopy, Resonance, Tissue Engineering


Recently, there has been a surge in researchers and scientists investigating different methods which move, manipulate, and pattern biological cells. Multiple different mechanisms can be used for cellular manipulation, microfluidics, biochemical queues, and even optics, just to name a few. However, all techniques have their downsides. A majority of these methods require expensive equipment or reagents and can only manipulate a small number of cells at a time.

Some of the most common cell manipulation devices utilize acoustic pressure waves to move the cells to desired locations. Currently, it is unknown what level of force from these types of devices a biological cell can withstand before irreparable damage occurs. The first section of this dissertation investigates this issue. Briefly, this study found that the power into the acoustic device, cell exposure time to the acoustic waves and the distance from the source of the acoustic wave generator all effect cell attachment and viability. These results aid in providing a better understanding of the acoustic pressures a cell can withstand before permanent damage occurs.

The core of the research described in this dissertation investigates a new method of cell manipulation and patterning. This new method utilizes standing waves, generated by an inexpensive mechanical vibrator, to manipulate cells into the mode shapes of the container the cells are within.

NIH3T3 Fibroblasts were successfully patterned using the frequencies 40Hz and 75Hz and the overall pattern persisted for over 48 hours. Further investigations confirmed that the patterning method described here had no noticeable negative effects on cell viability, proliferation, or migration. The results of this research provide a fast, flexible, and inexpensive method for manipulating and patterning large numbers of cells.