Continuous particle focusing in a waved microchannel using negative dc dielectrophoresis
We present a waved microchannel for continuous focusing of microparticles and cells using negative direct current (dc) dielectrophoresis. The waved channel is composed of consecutive s-shaped curved channels in series to generate an electric field gradient required for the dielectrophoretic effect. When particles move electrokinetically through the channel, the experienced negative dielectrophoretic forces alternate directions within two adjacent semicircular microchannels, leading to a focused continuous-flow stream along the channel centerline. Both the experimentally observed and numerically simulated results of the focusing performance are reported, which coincide acceptably in proportion to the specified dimensions (i.e. inlet and outlet of the waved channel). How the applied electric field, particle size and medium concentration affect the performance was studied by focusing polystyrene microparticles of varying sizes. As an application in the field of biology, the focusing of yeast cells in the waved mcirochannel was tested. This waved microchannel shows a great potential for microflow cytometry applications and is expected to be widely used before different processing steps in lab-on-a-chip devices with integrated functions.