DC insulator dielectrophoretic applications in microdevice technology: A review

Document Type


Publication Date



Dielectrophoresis is a noninvasive, nondestructive, inexpensive, and fast technique for the manipulation of bioparticles. Recent advances in the field of dielectrophoresis (DEP) have resulted in new approaches for characterizing the behavior of particles and cells using direct current (DC) electric fields. In such approaches, spatial nonuniformities are created in the channel by embedding insulating obstacles in the channel or flow field in order to perform separation or trapping. This emerging field of dielectrophoresis is commonly termed DC insulator dielectrophoresis (DC-iDEP), insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP), or electrodeless dielectrophoresis (eDEP). In many microdevices, this form of dielectrophoresis has advantages over traditional AC-DEP, including single material microfabrication, remotely positioned electrodes, and reduced fouling of the test region. DC-iDEP applications have included disease detection, separation of cancerous cells from normal cells, and separation of live from dead bacteria. However, there is a need for a critical report to integrate these important research findings. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the current state-of-art technology in the field of DC-iDEP for the separation and trapping of inert particles and cells. In this article, a review of the concepts and theory leading to the manipulation of particles via DC-iDEP is given, and insulating obstacle geometry designs and the characterization of device performance are discussed. This review compiles and compares the significant findings obtained by researchers in handling and manipulating particles. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Publication Title

Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry