FYI: upcoming seminar

Francis Lin flin2 at
Sat Dec 15 10:30:08 PST 2007

AC electric fields in microfluidic systems: applications in bionanotechnology and the Lab-on-a-Chip


Nicolas G Green

ng2 at

School of Electronics and Computer Science

University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK


Seminar Sponsored by Mechanical Engineering Department, 

To Be Held Monday, Dec 17 2007 at 3:00PM in Building 530-127



There is a wide range of applications of AC electric fields in microfluidic analysis and separation systems.  This presentation discusses some of the recent work at the University of Southampton in the area of AC electrokinetics, electrowetting and microimpedance spectroscopy. 


Dielectrophoresis (DEP) is the movement and manipulation of particles by the application of non-uniform electric fields.  The DEP force spectrum is unique to a given particle type, providing a powerful method for separation of particles.  DEP is also a non-contact method, making it ideal for the manipulation, trapping and separation of biological particles such as cell, bacteria and viruses.  The implementation of DEP in single cell manipulation and measurement techniques for a microflow cytometer is discussed.  The development of a scalable DEP-well array technology for the trapping, analysis and measurement of single cells is presented, as well as the continuous flow-through separation of nano-particles is discussed. 


The development of a microflow cytometer, which uses impedance and laser spectroscopy for the analysis of single cells and particles, is also discussed.  The advantages of impedance spectroscopy in general and single cell spectroscopy in particular are examined.  The application of the cytometer for the analysis of blood cell and marine algae samples are considered.


Finally the use of AC electric fields for the manipulation and control of fluids is covered.  The use of carbonised SU8 structures for high density AC electroosmotic micropumps is explored.  The development of ultra low voltage (5V) electrowetting devices for microdroplet manipulation is discussed, along with the application of the technique for the construction of artificial lipid bilayer structures.  This extremely useful technique has applications in the field of bionanotechnology in the measurement and characterisation of membrane proteins and ion channels.  The application of this method is demonstrated in the measurement of simple channel proteins e.g. a-hemolysin.
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