Electrophoresis, Vol.40, No.6, 979-992, 2019
On hybrid electroosmotic kinetics for field-effect-reconfigurable nanoparticle trapping in a four-terminal spiral microelectrode array
Induced-charge electroosmosis (ICEO) has attracted tremendous popularity for driving fluid motion from the microfluidic community since the last decade, while less attention has been paid to ICEO-based nanoparticle manipulation. We propose herein a unique concept of hybrid electroosmotic kinetics (HEK) in terms of bi-phase ICEO (BICEO) actuated in a four-terminal spiral electrode array, for effective electrokinetic enrichment of fluorescent polystyrene nanoparticles on ideally polarizable metal strips. First, by alternating the applied AC voltage waves between consecutive discrete terminals, the flow stagnation lines where the sample nanoparticles aggregate can be switched in time between two different distribution modes. Second, we innovatively introduce the idea of AC field-effect flow control on BICEO; by altering the combination of gating voltage sequence, not only the number of circulative particle trapping lines is doubled, but the collecting locations can be flexibly reconfigured as well. Third, hydrodynamic streaming of DC-biased BICEO is tested in our device design, wherein the global linear electroosmosis dominates BICEO contributed from both AC and DC components, resulting in a reduction of particle enrichment area, while with a sharp increase in sample transport speed inside the bulk phase. The flow field associated with HEK is predicted using a linear asymptotic analysis under Debye-Huckel limit, with the simulation results in qualitative agreement with in-lab observations of nanoparticle trapping by exploiting a series of improved ICEO techniques. This work provides an affordable and field-deployable platform for real-time nanoparticle trapping in the context of dilute electrolyte.