The advent of nanotechnology has facilitated the preparation of colloidal particles with adjustable sizes and the control of their size-dependent properties. Physical manipulation, such as separation, mixing, and concentration, of these colloidal particles represents an essential step for fully utilizing their potential in a wide spectrum of nanotechnology applications. In this study, we investigate hybrid electrokinetics, the combination of dielectrophoresis and electrohydrodynamics, for active manipulation of colloidal particles ranging from nanometers to micrometers in size. A concentric electrode configuration, which is optimized for generating electrohydrodynamic flow, has been designed to elucidate the effectiveness of hybrid electrokinetics and define the operating regimes for different microfluidic operations. The results indicate that the relative importance of electrohydrodynamics increases with decreasing particle size as predicted by a scaling analysis and that electrohydrodynamics is pivotal for manipulating nanoscale particles. Using the concentric electrodes, we demonstrate separation, mixing, and concentration of colloidal particles by adjusting the relative strengths of different electrokinetic phenomena. The effectiveness of hybrid electrokinetics indicates its potential to serve as a generic technique for active manipulation of colloidal particles in various nanotechnology applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering