Microfluidic mixing using contactless dielectrophoresis

Alireza Salmanzadeh, Hadi Shafiee, Rafael V Davalos, Mark A Stremler
Electrophoresis 2011, 32 (18): 2569-78
The first experimental evidence of mixing enhancement in a microfluidic system using contactless dielectrophoresis (cDEP) is presented in this work. Pressure-driven flow of deionized water containing 0.5 μm beads was mixed in various chamber geometries by imposing a dielectrophoresis (DEP) force on the beads. In cDEP the electrodes are not in direct contact with the fluid sample but are instead capacitively coupled to the mixing chamber through thin dielectric barriers, which eliminates many of the problems encountered with standard DEP. Four system designs with rectangular and circular mixing chambers were fabricated in PDMS. Mixing tests were conducted for flow rates from 0.005 to 1 mL/h subject to an alternating current signal range of 0-300 V at 100-600 kHz. When the time scales of the bulk fluid motion and the DEP motion were commensurate, rapid mixing was observed. The rectangular mixing chambers were found to be more efficient than the circular chambers. This approach shows potential for mixing low diffusivity biological samples, which is a very challenging problem in laminar flows at small scales.

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