The efficient separation of discrete particle species is a topic of interest in numerous research fields for its practical application to problems encountered in both academia and industry. We have recently developed an electrokinetic technique that exploits the curvature-induced dielectrophoresis (C-iDEP) to continuously sort particles by inherent properties in asymmetric double-spiral microchannels. Herein we demonstrate that a single-spiral microchannel is also sufficient for a continuous-flow sheathless electrokinetic particle separation. This method relies on C-iDEP to focus particles to a tight stream and the wall-induced electric lift to manipulate the aligned particles to size-dependent equilibrium positions, both of which happen simultaneously inside the spiral. A theoretical model is developed to understand this size-based separation, which has been implemented for both a binary mixture and a ternary mixture of colloidal particles. The obtained analytical formulae predict with a close agreement both the experimentally measured particle center-wall distance and the necessary electric field for a complete particle focusing in the spiral.
- single spiral