Optically Modulated Electrokinetic Manipulation and Concentration of Colloidal Particles near an Electrode Surface

Aloke Kumar, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette
Jae-Sung Kwon, Purdue University - Main Campus
Stuart J. Williams, University of Louisville
Nicolas G. Green, University of Southhampton
Nung Kwan Yip, Purdue University - Main Campus
Steven Wereley, Purdue University - Main Campus

Date of this Version


This document has been peer-reviewed.



We study a recently demonstrated AC electrokinetic technique for manipulation and concentration of colloidal particles on an electrode surface. The technique uses indium tin oxide (ITO)-based parallel-plate electrodes on which highly localized infrared (1064 nun) laser illumination is shone. We show that the highly localized laser illumination leads to a highly nonuniform heating of the electrode substrate, which in turn drives an electrothermal microvortex resulting in a rapid transport of particles toward the illuminated site. Hundreds of polystyrene particles, with diameters ranging from 2.0 to 0.1 mu m, suspended in a low conductivity solution (2.0 mS/m) could be aggregated at selected locations on the electrode by activating the laser illumination at suitable AC frequencies. Subsequent deactivation of the laser illumination causes the particles to scatter, and we explore this dynamical behavior for 1.0 mu m particles using Delaunay tessellations and high-speed videography. We establish that drag from the electrothermal microvortex acts against a repulsive force, which decreases with increasing AC frequency; to create stable particle clusters. Moreover, experimentally we show that this particle capturing technique can be characterized by a critical frequency: a frequency at which the captured colloidal particle cluster becomes unstable and particles are carried away into the bulk by the electrothermal microvortex. This critical frequency increases with decreasing particle diameter for similar particles. For 0.1 mu m particles, comparison of aggregation at different AC frequencies is achieved by the comparison of fluorescent intensity profiles of the aggregations.


Engineering | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology