Microfluidic devices or lab-on-a-chip systems can make a significant impact in many fields where obtaining a rapid response is critical, particularly in analyses involving biological cells. Microfluidics has revolutionized the manner in which many different assessments/processes are carried out, since it offers attractive advantages over traditional bench-scale techniques. Some of the advantages are: small sample and reagent amounts, higher resolution and sensitivity, improved level of integration and automation, lower cost and much shorter processing times. There is a growing interest on the development of techniques that can be used in microfluidics devices. Among these, electrokinetic techniques have shown great potential due to their flexibility. Dielectrophoresis (DEP) is an electrokinetic mechanism that refers to the interaction of a dielectric particle with a spatially non-uniform electric field; this leads to particle movement due to polarization effects. DEP offers great potential since it can be carried out employing DC and AC electric fields, and neutral and charged particles can be manipulated. This work is focused on the use of insulator based DEP (iDEP), a novel dielectrophoretic mode that employs arrays of insulating structures to generate dielectrophoretic forces. Successful microparticle manipulation can be achieved employing iDEP, due to its unique characteristics that allow for great flexibility. In this work, microchannels containing arrays of cylindrical insulating posts were employed to concentrate, sort and separate microparticles. Mathematical modeling with COMSOL® was performed to identify optimal device configuration. Different sets of experiments were carried out employing DC and AC potentials. The results demonstrated that effective and fast particle manipulation is possible by fine tuning dielectrophoretic force and electroosmotic flow.

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