Experimental study of dielectrophoresis and liquid dielectrophoresis mechanisms for particle capture in a droplet

Sung-Lin Tsai, Jhih-Lin Hong, Ming-Kun Chen, Ling-Sheng Jang
Electrophoresis 2011, 32 (11): 1337-47
This work presents a microfluidic system that can transport, concentrate, and capture particles in a controllable droplet. Dielectrophoresis (DEP), a phenomenon in which a force is exerted on a dielectric particle when it is subjected to a non-uniform electric field, is used to manipulate particles. Liquid dielectrophoresis (LDEP), a phenomenon in which a liquid moves toward regions of high electric field strength under a non-uniform electric field, is used to manipulate the fluid. In this study, a mechanism of droplet creation presented in a previous work that uses DEP and LDEP is improved. A driving electrode with a DEP gap is used to prevent beads from getting stuck at the interface between air and liquid, which is actuated with an AC signal of 200 V(pp) at a frequency of 100 kHz. DEP theory is used to calculate the DEP force in the liquid, and LDEP theory is used to analyze the influence of the DEP gap. The increment of the actuation voltage due to the electrode with a DEP gap is calculated. A set of microwell electrodes is used to capture a bead using DEP force, which is actuated with an AC signal of 20 V(pp) at a frequency of 5 MHz. A simulation is carried out to investigate the dimensions of the DEP gap and microwell electrodes. Experiments are performed to demonstrate the creation of a 100-nL droplet and the capture of individual 10-μm polystyrene latex beads in the droplet.

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