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A Continuous Particle/Cell Sorter Using Dielectrophoresis

G.R. Wang, J.J. Feng, S. Vasantgadkar, K. Pant, B. Prabhakarpandian, S. Krishnamoorthy and S. Sundaram
CFD Research Corporation, US

Keywords:
particle, cell, sorter, dielectrophoresis

Abstract:
We present a novel design of a continuous microfluidic sorter for separation of cells or particles by the intelligent use of conventional negative dielectrophoresis with separation efficiency of greater than 95%. A high fidelity modeling and simulation tool was used in the design of the device.
 
There are two electrodes in a wedge format on the bottom and top surfaces of the microchannel. At one side of the channel, near the electrode gap, there is a side channel for separating the particles that experience a larger DEP force from those experiencing smaller DEP force. Fluorescent polystyrene particles of 1 and 5.7 μm diameter, and bacteria Bacillus subtilis were used to demonstrate the separation. The principle behind the operation of this device is that the DEP force depends on particle diameter and particle property. Under optimized condition, the larger particles experience a higher DEP force and are repelled to the side channel, while the smaller particles still experienced almost no DEP force and are pushed downstream in the main channel through hydrodynamic force. With and without the electrode activation, the separation of 5.7 μm particle into the side channel was 96% and 5% respectively.
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