Bioparticle separation and manipulation using dielectrophoresis
Manipulation and separation of micro-sized particles, particularly biological particles, using the dielectrophoretic (DEP) force is an emerging technique in MEMS technology. This paper presents a DEP-based microsystem for the selective manipulation and separation of bioparticles using dielectrophoretic effects. The microfabricated DEP device consists of a sandwich structure, in which a microchannel with electrode array lining on its bottom is sandwiched between the substrate and the glass lid. Dielectrophoretic behavior of polystyrene particles with diameter of 4.3 µm was studied. Both positive DEP and negative DEP were observed. Particles under positive DEP were attracted to the edges of the electrodes, while those under negative DEP were repelled away from the electrodes and levitated at certain height above the electrodes (within a proper range of frequencies of the electric field). Levitation height of the particles was measured. It was demonstrated that the levitation height of a specific particle strongly depends on the combined contributions of a number of parameters, such as the frequency of the electric field, dielectric properties of the particles and the surrounding medium. Different particles can be separated and manipulated on the basis of their difference in these parameters.