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1Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Drexel University, 2Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, Drexel University
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Manipulating fluids and suspended particles in the micro- and nano-scale is becoming more of a reality as enabling technologies, like AC electrokinetics, continue to develop. Here, we discuss the physics behind AC electrokinetics, how to fabricate these devices and how to interpret the experimental observations.
Hart, R., Oh, J., Capurro, J., Noh, H. (. AC Electrokinetic Phenomena Generated by Microelectrode Structures. J. Vis. Exp. (17), e813, doi:10.3791/813 (2008).
The field of AC electrokinetics is rapidly growing due to its ability to perform dynamic fluid and particle manipulation on the micro- and nano-scale, which is essential for Lab-on-a-Chip applications. AC electrokinetic phenomena use electric fields to generate forces that act on fluids or suspended particles (including those made of dielectric or biological material) and cause them to move in astonishing ways1, 2. Within a single channel, AC electrokinetics can accomplish many essential on-chip operations such as active micro-mixing, particle separation, particle positioning and micro-pattering. A single device may accomplish several of those operations by simply adjusting operating parameters such as frequency or amplitude of the applied voltage. Suitable electric fields can be readily created by micro-electrodes integrated into microchannels. It is clear from the tremendous growth in this field that AC electrokinetics will likely have a profound effect on healthcare diagnostics3-5, environmental monitoring6 and homeland security7.
In general, there are three AC Electrokinetic phenomena (AC electroosmosis, dielectrophoresis and AC electrothermal effect) each with unique dependencies on the operating parameters. A change in these operating parameters can cause one phenomena to become dominant over another, thus changing the particle or fluid behavior.
It is difficult to predict the behavior of particles and fluids due to the complicated physics that underlie AC electrokinetics. It is the goal of this publication to explain the physics and elucidate particle and fluid behavior. Our analysis also covers how to fabricate the electrode structures that generate them, and how to interpret a wide number of experimental observations using several popular device designs. This video article will help scientists and engineers understand these phenomena and may encourage them to start using AC Electrokinetics in their research.
Fabricating Cr/Au Electrodes on Glass Substrates
Part 1A: Wet Etch Method
Part 1B: Alternative Protocol - Lift-off Method
Part 2: Microsphere injection and observation
Note: It is important not to raise the voltage too high or allow the frequency to get too low or electrolysis of water will occur. The exact voltage or frequency settings for this to occur are dependant on the electrode design. Our lab guidelines are to avoid frequencies below 500 Hz or voltages above 8 V.
In this video, we have shown a wide variety of particle and fluid manipulation behaviors caused by AC electrokinetic phenomena. The electrodes that generate these phenomena are easy to fabricate and can be easily integrated into many other systems. As we have shown, there are numerous applications for the use of AC electrokinetics. The versatility of these devices, as well as the rapid nature of manipulation, makes them particularly attractive. As healthcare and other industries begin to embrace lab-on-a-chip systems, we will likely see the incorporation of AC electrokinetics on those devices as an integral part.
|2" by 4" Pyrex Glass Slide||Substrate||Pyrex 7740|
|chrome mask||material||This photomask will have the micr–lectrode patterns on them and can be ordered from a variety of microfabrication centers.|
|PDMS Microchannels||material||These may be fabricated and used in-house or a simple microscope slide will suffice.|
|Hydrogen Peroxide 30%||Reagent||Fisher Scientific||7722-84-1||Certified ACS, Fisher Scientific|
|Sulfuric Acid||Reagent||Fisher Scientific||A300-212||Certified ACS Plus|
|Acetone Electronic Grade||Reagent||Fisher Scientific||A946-4|
|Shipley 1827 Positive Photoresist||Reagent||MicroChem Corp.|
|Shipley 351 Developer||Reagent||MicroChem Corp.|
|Gold Etchant||Reagent||Transene Company, Inc.||Type TFA|
|Chrome Photomask Etchant||Reagent||Cyantek Corporation||CR-7S|
|NR-7 1500 PY Negative Resist||Reagent||Futurrex|
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