This article compares the operation of a dielectrophoretic (DEP) platform before and after pattering carbon nanotubes (CNTs) between its microelectrodes. The diverse performance of the DEP system is assessed by separating 1 and 5 μm polystyrene particles. In the absence of CNTs, both particles can only be trapped by operating the system at low medium conductivities, (<10-3 S/m) and frequencies (<75 kHz). Alternatively, applying CNTs to the system, some CNTs coat the surface of particles and increase their overall conductivity and permittivity, whereas the rest of them are patterned between the microelectrodes and induce strong DEP forces at their free ends, which can effectively trap the coated particles. The first development extends the range of medium conductivities and frequencies at which the trapping of both particles is achievable, whereas the second development facilitates the selective deposition of particles along the surface of curved microelectrodes. Setting the medium conductivity to 2×10-3 S/m and the frequency to 20 MHz, most of 5 μm particles are trapped at the entry region of the first microelectrode pair, whereas most of 1 μm particles are trapped at the tips, and this distinction facilitates their separation. The trapping of 1 μm particles can be improved by decreasing the frequency to 1.5 MHz. This study demonstrates how the integration of CNTs into microfluidic systems enables them to operate beyond their capabilities.
Field of Research
091306 Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)
Socio Economic Objective
970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences