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Published January 8, 2007 | public
Journal Article Open

Trapping and storage of particles in electroactive microwells


The authors describe electroactive microwells which exploit highly localized electrokinetic effects in order to actively concentrate, confine, store, and reject particles in well defined geometries. In this letter the authors present experimental results demonstrating repeatable trapping and repulsion of polystyrene particles in wells ranging in diameter from 6 to 20 µm in the presence of a superimposed pressure driven flow. A comprehensive finite element model is developed to describe the transport physics involved in the attraction and repulsion processes. Immediate applications include active cell trapping, particle concentration and unlabeled sensing.

Additional Information

©2007 American Institute of Physics. (Received 21 September 2006; accepted 7 December 2006; published online 11 January 2007) This work is supported by National Science Foundation through the Sensors and Sensor Networks program under Grant No. NSF/CTS 0529045 and the DARPA Center for Optofluidic Integration at Caltech.


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