Electrokinetically driven concentration of particles and cells by dielectrophoresis with DC-offset AC electric field
Lam, Yee Cheong
Date of Issue2011
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) has been successfully used for on-chip manipulations of biological samples. Despite its effectiveness, iDEP typically requires high DC voltages to achieve sufficient electric field; this is mainly due to the coupled phenomena among linear electrokinetics: electroosmosis (EO) and electrophoresis (EP) and nonlinear electrokinetics: dielectrophoresis (DEP). This paper presents a microfluidic technique using DC-offset AC electric field for electrokinetic concentration of particles and cells by repulsive iDEP. This technique introduces AC electric field for producing iDEP which is decoupled from electroosmosis (EO) and electrophoresis (EP). The repulsive iDEP is generated in a PDMS tapered contraction channel that induces non-uniform electric field. The benefits of introducing AC electric field component are threefold: (i) it contributes to DEP force acting on particles, (ii) it suppresses EO flow and (iii) it does not cause any EP motion. As a result, the required DC field component that is mainly used to transport particles on the basis of EO and EP can be significantly reduced. Experimental results supported by numerical simulations showed that the total DC-offset AC electric field strength required to concentrate 15-μm particles is significantly reduced up to 85.9% as compared to using sole DC electric field. Parametric experimental studies showed that the higher buffer concentration, larger particle size and higher ratio of AC-to-DC electric field are favorable for particle concentration. In addition, the proposed technique was demonstrated for concentration of yeast cells.
Microfluidics and nanofluidics