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Analysis of Current Pulses in HeLa-Cell Permeabilization Due to High Voltage DC Corona Discharge

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Corona discharges are commonly utilized for numerous practical applications, including bio-technological ones. The corona induced transfer of normally impermeant molecules into the interior of biological cells has recently been successfully demonstrated. The exact nature of the interaction of the corona discharge with a cell membrane is still unknown, however, previous studies have suggested that it is either the electric fields produced by ions or the chemical interaction of the reactive species that result in the disruption of the cell membrane. This disruption of the cell membrane allows molecules to permeate into the cell. Corona discharge current constitutes a series of pulses, and it is during these pulses that the ions and reactive species are produced. It stands to reason, therefore, that the nature of these corona pulses would have an influence on the level of cell permeabilization and cell destruction. In this investigation, an analysis of the width, rise-time, characteristic frequencies, magnitude, and repetition rate of the nanosecond pulses was carried out in order to establish the relationship between these factors and the levels of cell membrane permeabilization and cell destruction. Results obtained are presented and discussed.

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