Immunoglobulin G and bovine serum albumin streaming dielectrophoresis in a microfluidic device



Dielectrophoresis (DEP) has demonstrated to be a versatile tool to manipulate micro- and nanoparticles with applications for positioning, separation and fractionation. Recent developments of DEP have also shown that DEP can be used for the manipulation of biomolecules, such as DNA. Here, we focus on the manipulation of proteins using insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP). We designed suitable post arrays in a microfluidic channel and use numerical simulations to calculate the electric field distribution as well as concentration of proteins according to a convection–diffusion model for both negative and positive DEP. Experimentally, we find DEP trapping of mainly protein aggregates in phosphate buffer. However, when adding a charged zwitterionic detergent, we observed DEP streamlining of immunoglobulin G (IgG) and bovine serum albumin (BSA). Our experimental observations are in excellent agreement with numerical simulations and indicate positive DEP behavior of IgG and BSA under the employed experimental conditions. Our results demonstrate DEP streaming of proteins in an iDEP device for the first time and indicate the potential of protein DEP for separation and fractionation.