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Flexible Continuous Particle Beam Switching via External-Field-Reconfigurable Asymmetric Induced-Charge Electroosmosis

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posted on 2018-09-10, 00:00 authored by Haizhen Sun, Yukun Ren, Weiyu Liu, Xiangsong Feng, Likai Hou, Ye Tao, Hongyuan Jiang
Continuous sample switching is an essential process for developing an integrated platform incorporating multiple functionality with applications typically ranging from chemical to biological assays. Herein we propose a unique method of external-field-reconfigurable symmetry breaking in induced-charge electroosmosis above a simple planar bipolar electrode for continuous particle beam switching. In the proposed system, the spatial symmetry of a nonlinear electroosmotic vortex flow can be artificially reordered to achieve an asymmetric electrically floating-electrode polarization by regulating the configurations of the external ac signals, thus contributing to flexible particle beam switching. This switching system comprises an upstream flow-focusing region where particles are prefocused into a beam on the bipolar electrode by transversal electroconvective mass transfer, and a deflecting region in which the resulting particle beam is deflected to generate a steerable lateral displacement to enter the desired region via the action of an asymmetric polarization-induced reshapable electroosmotic flow stagnation line in a controllable background field gradient. A lateral particle displacement on the order of hundreds of micrometers can be achieved in a deterministic manner by varying the voltage, frequency, and inlet flow rate, thereby enabling multichannel particle switching. Furthermore, the versatility of the switching mechanism is extended by successfully accomplishing fluorescent nanoparticle beam switching, yeast cell switching, five-outlet particle switching, and simultaneous switching of two particle types. The proposed switching approach provides a promising technique for flexible electrokinetic sample preconcentration prior to any subsequent analysis and can be conveniently integrated with other micro/nanofluidic components into a complete functional on-chip platform owing to its simple electrode structure.