Biomedical Microdevices

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 243–249 | Cite as

DC-Dielectrophoretic separation of biological cells by size

  • Yuejun Kang
  • Dongqing Li
  • Spyros A. Kalams
  • Josiane E. Eid


DC-Dielectrophoresis (DC-DEP), the induced motion of the dielectric particles in a spatially non-uniform DC electric field, is applied to separate biological cells by size. The locally non-uniform electric field is generated by an insulating hurdle fabricated within a PDMS microchannel. The cells experience a negative DEP (accordingly a repulsive) force at the corners of the hurdle where the gradient of local electric-field strength is the strongest. The DC-DEP force acting on the cells is proportional to the cells’ size. Thus the moving cells deviate from the streamlines and the degree of deviation is dependent on the cell size. In this paper, we demonstrated by using this method that, combined with the electroosmotic flow, mixed biological cells of a few to tens of micrometers difference in diameter can be continuously separated into different collecting wells. For separating target cells of a specific size, all that is required is to adjust the voltage outputs of the electrodes.


DC-Dielectrophoresis Cell separation Microfluidics Lab-on-a-chip 



The authors would like to thank the Vanderbilt University for the research grants, and thank Jie Wei and Louise Barnett from Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for AIDS Research for assistance in preparing the fixed white blood cells.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuejun Kang
    • 1
  • Dongqing Li
    • 1
  • Spyros A. Kalams
    • 2
    • 4
  • Josiane E. Eid
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Infectious Diseases Unit, Department of Internal MedicineVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Cancer BiologyVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA

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