Dynamic Equilibrium Separation, Concentration, and Mixing Apparatus and Methods

Tech ID: 24711 / UC Case 2006-174-0

Brief Description

An apparatus, method and process for manipulating particles and/or solutions through the use of electrokinetic properties. 


Under the action of electric fields, dielectric particles are polarized when suspended in a dielectric media. If the field is not homogenous, a net force called a dielectrophoretic (DEP) force is exerted on the polarized particle. The method of dielectrophoresis is becoming more popular in applications where separating particles is attractive. Switching the DEP forces on and off allows for the selective capture of cells, bacteria, DNA and other organic matter. This method could be applied to the capture of suspected pathogens, transfer to a selected area of a microfluidic device, and extraction and analysis.

By using specially designed electrodes, large electric field gradients can be generated that can move submicron particles using DEP. These large field gradients are necessary, as smaller particles require larger electric field gradients. However, these gradients can strongly interact with background material, which slows down the movement of particles. 


Researchers have developed an apparatus, method and process for manipulating particles and/or solutions through the use of electrokinetic properties. The apparatus contains a fluid-containing cell with a particle motivating force that interacts with a circulating fluid flow. The method is based on forming at least one recurrent circulating fluid flow within the particle so that the apparatus can be used to concentrate as well as mix particles. Additionally, the method includes subsequent steps of detecting particles, collecting particles, and the steps of advancing or collecting mixed particles. 


·         Ability to concentrate or mix particles in medium

·         Targeting of specific particles

·         Electrochemical, electromechanical, or mechanical particle motivating force 


·         Detection and capture of suspected pathogens

·         Particle mixing

·         Capture of DNA, proteins

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 8,182,669 05/22/2012 2006-174


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Other Information


electrokinetic, particle mixing, DNA, proteins, indpharma

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