Hydrodynamic and direct-current insulator-based dielectrophoresis (H-DC-iDEP) microfluidic blood plasma separation


Evaluation and diagnosis of blood alterations is a common request for clinical laboratories, requiring a complex technological approach and dedication of health resources. In this paper, we present a microfluidic device that owing to a novel combination of hydrodynamic and dielectrophoretic techniques can separate plasma from fresh blood in a microfluidic channel and for the first time allows optical real-time monitoring of the components of plasma without pre- or post-processing. The microchannel is based on a set of dead-end branches at each side and is initially filled using capillary forces with a 2-μL droplet of fresh blood. During this process, stagnation zones are generated at the dead-end branches and some red blood cells (RBCs) are trapped there. An electric field is then applied and dielectrophoretic trapping of RBCs is used to prevent more RBCs entering into the channel, which works like a sieve. Besides, an electroosmotic flow is generated to sweep the rest of the RBCs from the central part of the channel. Consequently, an RBC-free zone of plasma is formed in the middle of the channel, allowing real-time monitoring of the platelet behavior. To study the generation of stagnation zones and to ensure RBC trapping in the initial constrictions, two numerical models were solved. The proposed experimental design separates up to 0.1 μL blood plasma from a 2-μL fresh human blood droplet. In this study, a plasma purity of 99 % was achieved after 7 min, according to the measurements taken by image analysis.

Schematics of a real-time plasma monitoring system based on a Hydrodynamic and direct-current insulator-based dielectrophoresis microfluidic channel

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Electroosmotic flow




Red blood cell


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The authors gratefully thank Dr. Roberto Castilla López for reading the manuscript and his valuable help regarding hydrodynamic simulation. The project has been funded by BIOPAPμFLUID CTQ2013-48995-C2-1-R of Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad of Spain.

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Correspondence to Jasmina Casals-Terré.

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Mohammadi, M., Madadi, H., Casals-Terré, J. et al. Hydrodynamic and direct-current insulator-based dielectrophoresis (H-DC-iDEP) microfluidic blood plasma separation. Anal Bioanal Chem 407, 4733–4744 (2015).

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  • Blood separation
  • Dielectrophoresis
  • Electrokinetic
  • Hydrodynamic
  • Microfluidics
  • Modeling