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Numerical Study of Joule Heating Effect on Dielectrophoresis-Based Circulating Tumor Cell Separation

[+] Author Affiliations
Arian Aghilinejad, Xiaolin Chen

Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Mohammad Aghaamoo

University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA

Paper No. IMECE2017-70340, pp. V003T04A014; 8 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 3: Biomedical and Biotechnology Engineering
  • Tampa, Florida, USA, November 3–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5836-3
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


Insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) is known as a powerful technique for separation and manipulation of bioparticles, using arrays of insulating posts and external electrical field. In this research, we utilized numerical simulation to study, in detail, the Joule heating which is one the most important phenomena in iDEP technique specially related to bioparticles separation and manipulation in physiological samples. Although Joule heating has been observed in both electrode-based and insulator dielectrophoresis, its effect is more significant in iDEP since higher electric potentials are required in this technology. As a result of the external electrical field, the temperature gradients would create conductivity, permittivity, viscosity and density local gradients in the solution, and consequently cause bulk fluid forces and fluid motion, known as electrothermal flow (ET). These flow circulations can cause unpredicted behavior of the device and even cause problems due to clogging. Moreover, the temperature rise due to the Joule heating could threaten the cell viability. In this study, we are going to develop a robust numerical model for predicting the flow behavior in the existence of external electric field and determining the temperature and velocity profile which can determine the cell viability and clogging problem in iDEP microdevices. The developed numerical tool was used based on the properties of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and White blood cells (WBCs) and their separation.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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