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Open Access Nano Express

Rapid Concentration of Nanoparticles with DC Dielectrophoresis in Focused Electric Fields

Dafeng Chen*, Hejun Du and CheeYong Tay

Author Affiliations

School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore, 639798, Singapore

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2009, 5:55-60  doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9442-3

Published: 1 October 2009

Abstract

We report a microfluidic device for rapid and efficient concentration of micro/nanoparticles with direct current dielectrophoresis (DC DEP). The concentrator is composed of a series of microchannels constructed with PDMS-insulating microstructures for efficiently focusing the electric field in the flow direction to provide high field strength and gradient. The location of the trapped and concentrated particles depends on the strength of the electric field applied. Both ‘streaming DEP’ and ‘trapping DEP’ simultaneously take place within the concentrator at different regions. The former occurs upstream and is responsible for continuous transport of the particles, whereas the latter occurs downstream and rapidly traps the particles delivered from upstream. The performance of the device is demonstrated by successfully concentrating fluorescent nanoparticles. The described microfluidic concentrator can be implemented in applications where rapid concentration of targets is needed such as concentrating cells for sample preparation and concentrating molecular biomarkers for detection.

Keywords:
Microfluidics; DC dielectrophoresis; Nanoparticles; Electrokinetics