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Controlled Separation and Trapping of Particles Using Two-frequency DEP

[+] Author Affiliations
Sophie Loire, Yanting Zhang, Frederic Bottausci, Noel C. MacDonald, Igor Mezic

University of California at Santa Barbara

Paper No. IMECE2005-81911, pp. 543-549; 7 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Microelectromechanical Systems
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Microelectromechanical Systems Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4224-X | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


We present numerical simulations and experiments on dielectrophoretic (DEP) separation and trapping performed in a titanium-based microchannel linear electrode array. The use of electric fields and in particular dielectrophoresis (DEP) have a great potential to help miniaturize and increase the speed of biomedical analysis. Precise control and manipulation of micro/nano/bio particles inside those miniaturized devices depend greatly on our understanding of the phenomena induced by AC electric fields inside microchannels and how we take advantage of them. The studied DEP devices are composed of two parts: the inter-digitated titanium electrodes and the channel. The electrode substrate is constituted of two layers to form 4-phase traveling wave. Each electrode is 20 μm wide and separated from the other by a gap of 20 μm. The channel is 200 μm wide, 50 μm deep and 6 mm long. The device is designed to generate inhomogeneities in electric-field magnitude. This allows positive and negative DEP (p-DEP and n-DEP). Moreover, it can also produce inhomogeneities in electric-field phase, hence authorizing traveling wave DEP (twDEP). It is also capable of inducing two-frequency DEP, in contrast with most of the previous, single-frequency, designs. The advantages of two-frequency DEP were shown by theoretical work (Chang et al. 2003) and permit precise and optimal control of particles movements. We show that fluid flow effects are substantial and can affect the particle motion in a positive (enhanced trapping) and negative (trapping when separation is desired) way. We discuss the effects of AC-electroosmosis, electrothermal and dielectrophoresis combined. We discuss the advantages of two-frequency dielectrophoretic handling of bioparticles. We investigate the limits of particle size that can be accurately controlled.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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