PDMS is usually considered as a dielectric material and PDMS microchannel walls can be treated as an electrically insulated boundary. However, in certain layouts of microfluidic networks, electrical leakage through PDMS walls could significantly alter the electrical field in the microfluidic circuits, which must be carefully considered in microfluidic circuit design. We report on our experimental characterization of electrical leakage through PDMS microfluidic channel walls. Numerical modeling clearly disclosed the alteration of electrical field and electroosmotic velocity in the microfluidic channels because of the electrical leakage through the thin PDMS wall. In addition, we demonstrate that the electrical leakage through the PDMS channel wall can be used to realize trapping of individual particles at different locations inside the mcirofluidic channel by balancing the electroosmotic flow and electrophoretic migration of the particle.

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