Microfluidics and Nanofluidics

, Volume 18, Issue 5–6, pp 873–885 | Cite as

Dielectrophoretic cell motion model over periodic microelectrodes with unit-cell approach

  • Yee Cheong LamEmail author
  • Siang Hooi Ling
  • Wing Yue Chan
  • Kerm Sin Chian
Research Paper


The micro-separator constructed with periodic bottom microelectrodes and a continuous top electrode has been developed previously for continuous cell sorting by dielectrophoresis. To understand its full potential and to facilitate future device development, the working mechanism of such electrode design is investigated by mathematical simulation. We first present a unit-cell methodology to model spatial electric field strength (E) over the microelectrode space due to its periodic nature. Unit-cell methodology is useful in modeling of E distribution for the microelectrode space, allowing computing spatial dielectrophoretic force with much less computational efforts. By using the computed dielectrophoretic force, a cell motion model, which takes into consideration the dielectrophoretic, Stokes, buoyancy and gravitational forces on a cell, is established for the prediction of cell trajectory over the separation channel. This study demonstrates the validity of this model in predicting live and dead NIH-3T3 cells motions over the microelectrode space of the micro-separator by comparing numerical and experimental results. In conclusion, a mathematical model that combines unit-cell methodology and cell motion model has been proposed and has demonstrated its potential use as an effective tool for the evaluation of electrode with a periodic nature.


Electrode Space Simulated Trajectory Microelectrode Array Separation Channel Electrode Design 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Ling Siang Hooi gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Nanyang Technological University in the form of a NTU Research Scholarship.

Supplementary material

10404_2014_1478_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.2 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1,203 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yee Cheong Lam
    • 1
    Email author
  • Siang Hooi Ling
    • 1
  • Wing Yue Chan
    • 2
  • Kerm Sin Chian
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic SurgerySingapore General HospitalSingaporeSingapore

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