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Nondimensional Streaming Dielectrophoresis Number for a System of Continuous Particle Separation

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journal contribution
posted on 04.03.2019, 00:00 by Rucha Natu, Monsur Islam, Rodrigo Martinez-Duarte
Cell sorting methods are required in numerous healthcare assays. Although flow cytometry and magnetically actuated sorting are widespread techniques for cell sorting, there is intense research on label-free techniques to reduce the cost and complexity of the process. Among label-free techniques, dielectrophoresis (DEP) offers the capability to separate cells not only on the basis of size but also on their membrane capacitance. This is important because it enables cell discrimination on the basis of specific traits such as viability, identity, fate, and age. StreamingDEP refers to the continuous sorting of cells thanks to the generation of streams of targeted particles by equilibrating the drag and DEP forces acting on targeted particles. In this work, we provide an analytical expression for a streamingDEP number toward enabling the a priori design of DEP devices to agglomerate targeted particles into streams. The nondimensional streamingDEP number (SDN) obtained in this analysis is applied to experiments with 1 μm polystyrene particles and Candida cells. On the basis of these experiments, three characteristic zones are mapped to different values of the SDN: (1) physical capture thanks to DEP for 0 < SDN < 0.6; (2) streaming due to DEP for 0.6 < SDN < 1; (3) elution without experiencing DEP for SDN > 1.

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