Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 399, Issue 1, pp 301–321 | Cite as

DC insulator dielectrophoretic applications in microdevice technology: a review

  • Soumya K. Srivastava
  • Aytug Gencoglu
  • Adrienne R. Minerick


Dielectrophoresis is a noninvasive, nondestructive, inexpensive, and fast technique for the manipulation of bioparticles. Recent advances in the field of dielectrophoresis (DEP) have resulted in new approaches for characterizing the behavior of particles and cells using direct current (DC) electric fields. In such approaches, spatial nonuniformities are created in the channel by embedding insulating obstacles in the channel or flow field in order to perform separation or trapping. This emerging field of dielectrophoresis is commonly termed DC insulator dielectrophoresis (DC-iDEP), insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP), or electrodeless dielectrophoresis (eDEP). In many microdevices, this form of dielectrophoresis has advantages over traditional AC-DEP, including single material microfabrication, remotely positioned electrodes, and reduced fouling of the test region. DC-iDEP applications have included disease detection, separation of cancerous cells from normal cells, and separation of live from dead bacteria. However, there is a need for a critical report to integrate these important research findings. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the current state-of-art technology in the field of DC-iDEP for the separation and trapping of inert particles and cells. In this article, a review of the concepts and theory leading to the manipulation of particles via DC-iDEP is given, and insulating obstacle geometry designs and the characterization of device performance are discussed. This review compiles and compares the significant findings obtained by researchers in handling and manipulating particles.


Common insulating obstacle geometries reported in the literature. Red zones indicate where the particles experience the maximum dielectrophoretic effect under DC or DC plus AC-biased electric field conditions


DC dielectrophoresis Insulator-based dielectrophoresis Electrodeless dielectrophoresis Microfluidics Electrokinetic separations Bioparticles 



The authors would like to thank the financial support provided by NSF CAREER 0644538 and stimulating conversations with Blanca Lapizco-Encinas.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soumya K. Srivastava
    • 1
    • 2
  • Aytug Gencoglu
    • 3
  • Adrienne R. Minerick
    • 3
  1. 1.Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical EngineeringMississippi State UniversityStarkvilleUSA
  2. 2.Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and BioengineeringWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  3. 3.Department of Chemical EngineeringMichigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA

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