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Dielectrophoresis Manipulation: Versatile Lateral and Vertical Mechanisms

Institute of Microengineering and Nanoelectronics (IMEN), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Bangi, Selangor 43600, Malaysia
Functional Materials and Microsystems Research Group, School of Engineering, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia
Centre for Advanced Materials and Green Technology, Multimedia University, Melaka 75450, Malaysia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Biosensors 2019, 9(1), 30;
Received: 24 December 2018 / Revised: 24 January 2019 / Accepted: 30 January 2019 / Published: 26 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Lab-on-Chip Devices II)
PDF [6597 KB, uploaded 26 February 2019]


Discussing the topic of the capability of dielectrophoresis (DEP) devices in terms of the selective detection and rapid manipulation of particles based on the DEP force (FDEP) via contactless methods is challenging in medical research, drug discovery and delivery. Nonetheless, the process of the selective detection and rapid manipulation of particles via contactless DEP based on dielectric particles and the surrounding medium can reduce the effects of major issues, including physical contact with the particles and medium contamination to overcome operational difficulties. In this review, DEP microelectromechanical system (MEMS) microelectrodes with a tapered profile for the selective detection and rapid manipulation of particles were studied and compared with those of conventional designs with a straight-cut profile. The main objective of this manuscript is to review the versatile mechanism of tapered DEP MEMS microelectrodes for the purpose of selective detection and rapid manipulation. Thus, this review provides a versatile filtration mechanism with the potential for a glomerular-based membrane in an artificial kidneys’ development solution for implementing engineered particles and cells by lateral attraction as well as vertical repulsion in the development of lab-on-a-chip applications. For tapered DEP MEMS microelectrodes, the scope of this study methodology involved the characterisation of DEP, modelling of the polarisation factor and the dynamic dielectric changes between the particles and medium. Comprehensive discussions are presented on the capability of tapered DEP microelectrodes to drive the selected particles and the simulation, fabrication and testing of the tapered profile. This study revealed an outstanding performance with the capability of producing two regions of high electric field intensity at the bottom and top edges of the side wall of tapered microelectrodes. Observations on particle separation mainly by the lateral attraction force of particles with positive DEP on the y-axis and vertical repulsion force of particles with negative DEP on the z-axis proved an efficient and uniform FDEP produced by tapered electrodes. In conclusion, this study confirmed the reliability and efficiency of the tapered DEP microelectrodes in the process of selective detection and rapid manipulation at a higher efficiency rate than straight-cut microelectrodes, which is significant in DEP technology applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: dielectrophoresis; lateral and vertical manipulation dielectrophoresis; lateral and vertical manipulation

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Buyong, M.R.; Kayani, A.A.; Hamzah, A.A.; Yeop Majlis, B. Dielectrophoresis Manipulation: Versatile Lateral and Vertical Mechanisms. Biosensors 2019, 9, 30.

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