Characterization and optimization of liquid electrodes for lateral dielectrophoresis
Using the concept of insulator-based "electrodeless" dielectrophoresis, we present a novel geometry for shaping electric fields to achieve lateral deviation of particles in liquid flows. The field is generated by lateral planar metal electrodes and is guided along access channels to the active area in the main channel. The equipotential surfaces at the apertures of the access channels behave as vertical "liquid" electrodes injecting the current into the main channel. The field between a pair of adjacent liquid electrodes generates the lateral dielectrophoretic force necessary for particle manipulation. We use this force for high-speed deviation of particles. By adding a second pair of liquid electrodes, we focus a particle stream. The position of the focused stream can be swept across the channel by adjusting the ratio of the voltages applied to the two pairs. Based on conformal mapping, we provide an analytical model for estimating the potential at the liquid electrodes and the field distribution in the main channel. We show that the simulated particle trajectories agree with observations. Finally, we show that the model can be used to optimize the device geometry in different applications. © The Royal Society of Chemistry.