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High-throughput Dielectrophoretic Filtration of Sub-micron and Micro Particles in Macroscopic Porous Materials
: Received: 3 December 2019 / Approved: 4 December 2019 / Online: 4 December 2019 (12:54:38 CET)
A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.
Journal reference: Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 2020
State-of-the-art dielectrophoretic (DEP) separation techniques provide unique properties to separate particles from a liquid or particles with different properties such as material, morphology or size from each other. However, such separators do not operate at throughput that is sufficient for a vast fraction of separation tasks. The reason for this limitation is that, in order to move particles by dielectrophoresis, high electric field gradients to drive the separation are required. Conventionally, those gradients are generated by electrode microstructures that limit the maximum channel size. Here, we investigate DEP filtration, a technique that uses open porous microstructures instead of microfluidic devices to easily increase the filter cross section and therefore also the processable throughput by several orders of magnitude. Previously, we already separated baker’s yeast by DEP filtration in open porous ceramic structures. Now, we give a more elaborate experimental study about DEP filtration in these open porous structures and separate model particles, that are an order of magnitude smaller (500 nm, polystyrene), from aqueous suspensions. Almost 100% separation at flow rates of up to 9 mL min-1 was achieved while the majority of the trapped particles could be recovered. We show how particle separation depends on key parameters (voltage, throughput, filter structure size). Further, we work towards selective particle separation and show that particle separation is very dependent on the particle polarizability: This creates the possibility to adjust selectivity by changing the electrical conductivity of the suspension around that of the particle. This study highlights the unique qualities of dielectrophoretic filtration enabling switchable, selective, and scalable particle separation to solve existing problems such as cell separation or precious metal recovery.
dielectrophoresis; porous media; filtration; ac electrokinetics
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