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Open AccessArticle

On the Bipolar DC Flow Field-Effect-Transistor for Multifunctional Sample Handing in Microfluidics: A Theoretical Analysis under the Debye–Huckel Limit

1
School of Electronics and Control Engineering, Chang’an University, Middle-Section of Nan’er Huan Road, Xi’an 710064, Shanxi, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Robotics and System, Harbin Institute of Technology, West Da-zhi Street 92, Harbin 150001, Heilongjiang, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2018, 9(2), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9020082
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 11 February 2018 / Accepted: 13 February 2018 / Published: 16 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano-Chip Electrokinetics, Volume II)
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Abstract

We present herein a novel method of bipolar field-effect control on DC electroosmosis (DCEO) from a physical point of view, in the context of an intelligent and robust operation tool for stratified laminar streams in microscale systems. In this unique design of the DC flow field-effect-transistor (DC-FFET), a pair of face-to-face external gate terminals are imposed with opposite gate-voltage polarities. Diffuse-charge dynamics induces heteropolar Debye screening charge within the diffuse double layer adjacent to the face-to-face oppositely-polarized gates, respectively. A background electric field is applied across the source-drain terminal and forces the face-to-face counterionic charge of reversed polarities into induced-charge electroosmotic (ICEO) vortex flow in the lateral direction. The chaotic turbulence of the transverse ICEO whirlpool interacts actively with the conventional plug flow of DCEO, giving rise to twisted streamlines for simultaneous DCEO pumping and ICEO mixing of fluid samples along the channel length direction. A mathematical model in thin-layer approximation and the low-voltage limit is subsequently established to test the feasibility of the bipolar DC-FFET configuration in electrokinetic manipulation of fluids at the micrometer dimension. According to our simulation analysis, an integrated device design with two sets of side-by-side, but upside-down gate electrode pair exhibits outstanding performance in electroconvective pumping and mixing even without any externally-applied pressure difference. Moreover, a paradigm of a microdevice for fully electrokinetics-driven analyte treatment is established with an array of reversed bipolar gate-terminal pairs arranged on top of the dielectric membrane along the channel length direction, from which we can obtain almost a perfect liquid mixture by using a smaller magnitude of gate voltages for causing less detrimental effects at a small Dukhin number. Sustained by theoretical analysis, our physical demonstration on bipolar field-effect flow control for the microfluidic device of dual functionalities in simultaneous electroconvective pumping and mixing holds great potential in the development of fully-automated liquid-phase actuators in modern microfluidic systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: bipolar DC field-effect flow control; flow field-effect-transistor; counterionic Debye screening; simultaneous electroconvective pumping and mixing in microfluidics; linear electroosmosis; induced-charge electroosmosis bipolar DC field-effect flow control; flow field-effect-transistor; counterionic Debye screening; simultaneous electroconvective pumping and mixing in microfluidics; linear electroosmosis; induced-charge electroosmosis
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Liu, W.; Wu, Q.; Ren, Y.; Cui, P.; Yao, B.; Li, Y.; Hui, M.; Jiang, T.; Bai, L. On the Bipolar DC Flow Field-Effect-Transistor for Multifunctional Sample Handing in Microfluidics: A Theoretical Analysis under the Debye–Huckel Limit. Micromachines 2018, 9, 82.

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