Numerical Modeling of Dielectrophoretic Forces Acting upon Biological Cells in Silicon Lab-On-Chip Devices

S. Burgarella, M. Bianchessi, and M. De Fazio
Advanced System Technology, R&I e-Health, STMicroelectronics, Agrate Brianza, Italy

Dielectrophoresis (DEP) is a promising method for the automated separation of biological cells in a miniaturized format. This technology allows cells to be manipulated electronically while suspended in a microfluidic channel embedded in a silicon lab-on-chip.

In this work, several dielectrophoretic configurations have been designed and fabricated using micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS) technology.

The finite element software COMSOL Multiphysics has been used to perform the numerical simulation of the dielectrophoretic forces acting on the particles.

The functioning of the devices has been demonstrated with both polystyrene beads and human blood cells; the experimental results agree with those from modeling.