Geometric and material determinants of patterning efficiency by dielectrophoresis.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Biophys J, Volume 87, Issue 4, p.2131-47 (2004)


Biopolymers, Cell Culture Techniques, Cell Movement, Computer Simulation, Electrodes, Electromagnetic Fields, Electrophoresis, Microfluidics, Micromanipulation, Models, Biological, Models, Chemical, Motion, Particle Size, Stress, Mechanical


<p>Dielectrophoretic (DEP) forces have been used extensively to manipulate, separate, and localize biological cells and bioparticles via high-gradient electric fields. However, minimization of DEP exposure time is desirable, because of possible untoward effects on cell behavior. Toward this goal, this article investigates the geometric and material determinants of particle patterning kinetics and efficiency. In particular, the time required to achieve a steady-state pattern is theoretically modeled and experimentally validated for a planar, interdigitated bar electrode array energized in a standing-wave configuration. This measure of patterning efficiency is calculated from an improved Fourier series solution of DEP force, in which realistic boundary conditions and a finite chamber height are imposed to reflect typical microfluidic applications. The chamber height, electrode spacing, and fluid viscosity and conductivity are parameters that profoundly affect patterning efficiency, and optimization can reduce electric field exposure by orders of magnitude. Modeling strategies are generalizable to arbitrary electrode design as well as to conditions where DEP force may not act alone to cause particle motion. This improved understanding of DEP patterning kinetics provides a framework for new advances in the development of DEP-based biological devices and assays with minimal perturbation of cell behavior.</p>