This paper describes the behavior of particles in a deterministic lateral displacement (DLD) separation device with DC and AC electric fields applied orthogonal to the fluid flow. As proof of principle, we demonstrate tunable microparticle and nanoparticle separation and fractionation depending on both particle size and zeta potential. DLD is a microfluidic technique that performs size-based binary separation of particles in a continuous flow. Here, we explore how the application of both DC and AC electric fields (separate or together) can be used to improve separation in a DLD device. We show that particles significantly smaller than the critical diameter of the device can be efficiently separated by applying orthogonal electric fields. Following the application of a DC voltage, Faradaic processes at the electrodes cause local changes in medium conductivity. This conductivity change creates an electric field gradient across the channel that results in a nonuniform electrophoretic velocity orthogonal to the primary flow direction. This phenomenon causes particles to focus on tight bands as they flow along the channel countering the effect of particle diffusion. It is shown that the final lateral displacement of particles depends on both particle size and zeta potential. Experiments with six different types of negatively charged particles and five different sizes (from 100 nm to 3 μm) and different zeta potential demonstrate how a DC electric field combined with AC electric fields (that causes negative-dielectrophoresis particle deviation) could be used for fractionation of particles on the nanoscale in microscale devices.
Combining DC and AC electric fields with deterministic lateral displacement for micro- and nano-particle separation
Note: This article is part of the special topic, Festschrift for Professor Hsueh-Chia Chang.
Victor Calero, Pablo Garcia-Sanchez, Antonio Ramos, Hywel Morgan; Combining DC and AC electric fields with deterministic lateral displacement for micro- and nano-particle separation. Biomicrofluidics 1 September 2019; 13 (5): 054110. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5124475
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