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Purification of a droplet using negative dielectrophoresis traps in digital microfluidics

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The development of techniques for manipulating particles and integrating them into the digital microfluidic (DMF) devices has been the subject of several studies in recent years. This paper presents a dielectrophoretic-based method that uses triangular traps to manipulate particles and purify a droplet in DMF platforms. Numerical and experimental studies are conducted to show the effectiveness of the proposed trap geometry which is also compatible with the other operators in the DMF platform. The triangular trap geometry is used to move the polystyrene particles to one side of the trap using negative dielectrophoresis (nDEP). The droplet is then split into two smaller droplets with very low and high concentrations of particles using the electrowetting on dielectric technique. The average velocity of the particles (as they move along the trap) as a function of the vertex angle of the triangular trap and the gap between the top and bottom plate is examined. It is observed that the vertex angle of the trap plays more important role on the motion of the particles than the gap. Thus, to enhance the motion of the particles and minimize the effect of splitting on the purification process, the vertex angle and the slope of the side arms of the triangular trap are modified based on the results of the numerical model simulating the dielectrophoretic force on the particle. The enhanced geometry is fabricated and tested experimentally to show the effectiveness and ease-of-use of the proposed technique in purifying (or concentrating) a droplet in DMF. The results show that using the proposed nDEP electrode geometry purification (or concentration) can be performed with the efficiency of 90 %.

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Correspondence to Mina Hoorfar.

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Rezaei Nejad, H., Hoorfar, M. Purification of a droplet using negative dielectrophoresis traps in digital microfluidics. Microfluid Nanofluid 18, 483–492 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10404-014-1446-3

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  • Digital microfluidics
  • Dielectrophoresis (DEP)
  • Particle manipulation
  • Purification
  • Negative DEP trap