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Published January 1998 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

A MEMS electrostatic particle transportation system


We demonstrate here an electrostatic MEMS system capable of transporting particles 5-10μm in diameter in air. This system consists of 3-phase electrode arrays covered by insulators (Figs. 1, 2). Extensive testing of this system has been done using a variety of insulation materials (silicon nitride, photoresist, and Teflon), thickness (0- 12μm), particle sizes (1-10μm), particle materials (metal, glass, polystyrene, spores, etc), waveforms, frequencies, and voltages. Although previous literature [1-2] claimed it impractical to electrostatically transport particles with sizes 5-10μm due to complex surface forces, this effort actually shows it feasible (as high as 90% efficiency) with the optimal combination of insulation thickness, electrode geometry, and insulation material. Moreover, we suggest a qualitative theory for our particle transportation system which is consistent with our data and finite-element electrostatic simulations.

Additional Information

© Copyright 1998 IEEE. Reprinted with permission. Publication Date: 25-29 Jan. 1998. The funding for this project was provided by DARPA, MicroFlumes Contract. N66001-96-C-83632. The authors would also like to thank Mr. X.Q. Wang and Mr. W. Hsieh for their knowledge and assistance with parylene and Teflon films.

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