Effect of dielectrophoretic force on swimming bacteria
Tran, Ngoc Phu
Date of Issue2015
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Dielectrophoresis (DEP) has been applied widely in bacterial manipulation such as separating, concentrating, and focusing. Previous studies primarily focused on the collective effects of DEP force on the bacterial population. However, the influence of DEP force on the swimming of a single bacterium had not been investigated. In this study, we present a model to analyze the effect of DEP force on a swimming helically flagellated bacterium, particularly on its swimming direction and velocity. We consider a simple DEP force that acts along the X-direction, and its strength as well as direction varies with the X- and Y-positions. Resistive force theory is employed to compute the hydrodynamic force on the bacterium's flagellar bundle, and the effects of both DEP force and rotational diffusion on the swimming of the bacterium are simultaneously taken into consideration using the Fokker–Planck equation. We show the mechanism of how DEP force alters the orientation and velocity of the bacterium. In most cases, the DEP force dominantly influences the orientation of the swimming bacterium; however, when the DEP force strongly varies along the Y-direction, the rotational diffusion is also responsible for determining the bacterium's reorientation. More interestingly, the variance of DEP force along the Y-direction causes the bacterium to experience a translational velocity perpendicular to its primary axis, and this phenomenon could be utilized to focus the bacteria. Finally, we show the feasibility of applying our findings to achieve bacterial focusing.
© 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.