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Keywords:

  • Carbon electrode;
  • Dielectrophoresis;
  • Nucleic acid;
  • Numerical simulation

Carbon electrodes have recently been introduced as an alternative to metal electrodes and insulator structures for dielectrophoretic applications. Here, an experimental and theoretical study employing an array of 3D carbon electrodes contained in a microfluidic channel for the dielectrophoretic manipulation of DNA is presented. First evidence that carbon-electrode DEP can be used for the manipulation and trapping of biomolecules such as DNA is reported. In particular, the dielectrophoretic response of λ-DNA (48.5 kbp) under various frequencies and flow conditions necessary for retention of λ-DNA are studied. Negative DEP is observed at frequencies above 75 kHz and positive DEP is present in the range below 75 kHz and down to 5 kHz. We further implement a theoretical model to capture the experimental findings in sufficient detail. Our theoretical considerations based on reported scaling laws for linear and supercoiled DNA further suggest that carbon-electrode DEP devices could be employed in future analytical applications such as DNA preconcentration and fractionation.