Indexed on: 22 Apr '21Published on: 20 Apr '21Published in: ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering
Manipulation of microscale bioparticles including living cells is of great significance to the broad bioengineering and biotechnology fields. Dielectrophoresis (DEP), which is defined as the interactions between dielectric particles and the electric field, is one of the most widely used techniques for the manipulation of bioparticles including cell separation, sorting, and trapping. Bioparticles experience a DEP force if they have a different polarization from the surrounding media in an electric field that is nonuniform in terms of the intensity and/or phase of the electric field. A comprehensive literature survey shows that the DEP-based microfluidic devices for manipulating bioparticles can be categorized according to the methods of creating the nonuniformity via patterned microchannels, electrodes, and media to generate the DEP force. These methods together with the theory of DEP force generation are described in this review, to provide a summary of the methods and materials that have been used to manipulate various bioparticles for various specific biological outcomes. Further developments of DEP-based technologies include identifying materials that better integrate with electrodes than current popular materials (silicone/glass) and improving the performance of DEP manipulation of bioparticles by combining it with other methods of handling bioparticles. Collectively, DEP-based microfluidic manipulation of bioparticles holds great potential for various biomedical applications.