Sano MB, Salmanzadeh A, Davalos
RV. Multilayer contactless dielectrophoresis: theoretical considerations. Electrophoresis. 2012;33: 1938–46. doi:10.1002/elps.201100677
Dielectrophoresis (DEP), the movement of dielectric particles in a nonuniform electric field, is of particular interest due to its ability to manipulate particles based on their unique electrical properties. Contactless DEP (cDEP) is an extension of traditional and insulator-based DEP topologies. The devices consist of a sample channel and fluid electrode channels filled with a highly conductive media. A thin insulating membrane between the sample channel and the fluid electrode channels serves to isolate the sample from direct contact with metal electrodes. Here we investigate, for the first time, the properties of multilayer devices in which the sample and electrode channels occupy distinct layers. Simulations are conducted using commercially available finite element software and a less computationally demanding numerical approximation is presented and validated. We show that devices can be created that achieve a similar level of electrical performance to other cDEP devices presented in the literature while increasing fluid throughput. We conclude, based on these models, that the ultimate limiting factors in device performance resides in breakdown voltage of the barrier material and the ability to generate high-voltage, high-frequency signals. Finally, we demonstrate trapping of MDA-MB- 231 breast cancer cells in a prototype device at a flow rate of 1.0 mL/h when 250 VRMS at 600 kHz is applied.