We experimentally study the transient clustering behavior of viable yeast cells in a dilute suspension suddenly subjected to a nonuniform alternating current (AC) electric field of a microelectrode device. The frequency of the applied electric field is varied to identify two distinct regimes of positive dielectrophoresis. In both regimes, the yeast cells eventually cluster at electrodes' edges, but their transient behavior as well as their final arrangement is quite different. Specifically, when the frequency is much smaller than the cross-over frequency, the nearby yeast cells quickly rearrange in well-defined chains which then move toward the electrodes' edges and remain aligned as elongated chains at their final location. However, when the frequency is close to the crossover frequency, cells move individually toward the regions of collection and simply agglomerate along the electrodes' edges. Our analysis shows that in the first regime both the dielectrophoretic (DEP) force and the mutual DEP force, which arises due to the electrostatic particle-particle interactions, are important. In the second regime, on the other hand, the DEP force dominates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Clinical Biochemistry