Dielectrophoresis-based analyte separation and analysis

Jody Valentine Vykoukal, The University of Texas Grad. Sch. of Biomed. Sci. at Houston


Dielectrophoresis—the tendency of a material of high dielectric permittivity to migrate in an electrical field gradient to a region of maximum field strength—provides an ideal motive force for manipulating small volumes of biological analytes in microfluidic microsystems. The work described in this thesis was based on the hypothesis that dielectrophoresis could be exploited to provide high-resolution cell separations in microsystems as well as a means for the electrically-controllable manipulation of solid supports for molecular analysis. To this end, a dielectrophoretic/gravitational field-flow-fractionation (DEP/G-FFF) system was developed and the separation performance evaluated using various types and sizes of polystyrene microspheres as model particles. It was shown that separation of the polystyrene beads was based on the differences in their effective dielectrophoretic properties. The ability of an improved DEP/G-FFF system to separate genetically identical, but phenotypically dissimilar cell types was demonstrated using mixtures of 6m2 mutant rat kidney cells grown under transforming and non-transforming culture conditions. Additionally, a panel of engineered dielectric microspheres was designed with specific, predetermined dielectrophoretic properties such that their dielectrophoretic behaviors would be controllable and predictable. The fabrication method involved the use of gold-coated polystyrene microsphere cores coated with a self-assembled monolayer of alkanethiol and, optionally, a self-assembled monolayer of phospholipid to form a thin-insulating-shell-over-conductive-interior structure. The successful development of the DEP/G-FFF separation system and the dielectrically engineered microspheres provides proof-of-principle demonstrations of enabling dielectrophoresis-based microsystem technology that should provide powerful new methods for the manipulation, separation and identification of analytes in many diverse fields. ^

Subject Area

Biophysics, General

Recommended Citation

Vykoukal, Jody Valentine, "Dielectrophoresis-based analyte separation and analysis" (2001). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3070958.