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AC electrothermal manipulation of conductive fluids and particles for lab-chip applications

AC electrothermal manipulation of conductive fluids and particles for lab-chip applications

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AC electrokinetics has shown great potential for microfluidic functions such as pumping, mixing and concentrating particles. So far, electrokinetics are typically applied on fluids that are not too conductive (<0.02 S/m), which excludes most biofluidic applications. To solve this problem, this paper seeks to apply AC electrothermal (ACET) effect to manipulate conductive fluids and particles within. ACET generates temperature gradients in the fluids, and consequently induces space charges that move in electric fields and produce microflows. This paper reports two new ACET devices, a parallel plate particle trap and an asymmetric electrode micropump. Preliminary experiments were performed on fluids with conductivity at 0.224 S/m. Particle trapping and micropumping were demonstrated at low voltages, reaching ∼100 µm/s for no more than 8 Vrms at 200 kHz. The fluid velocity was found to depend on the applied voltage as V4, and the maxima were observed to be ∼20 µm above the electrodes.

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