We report a tunable alternating current electro-hydrodynamic (ac-EHD) force which drives lateral fluid motion within a few nanometers of an electrode surface. Because the magnitude of this fluid shear force can be tuned externally (e.g., via the application of an ac electric field), it provides a new capability to physically displace weakly (nonspecifically) bound cellular analytes. To demonstrate the utility of the tunable nanoshearing phenomenon, we present data on purpose-built microfluidic devices that employ ac-EHD force to remove nonspecific adsorption of molecular and cellular species. Here, we show that an ac-EHD device containing asymmetric planar and microtip electrode pairs resulted in a 4-fold reduction in nonspecific adsorption of blood cells and also captured breast cancer cells in blood, with high efficiency (approximately 87%) and specificity. We therefore feel that this new capability of externally tuning and manipulating fluid flow could have wide applications as an innovative approach to enhance the specific capture of rare cells such as cancer cells in blood.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry