Inducing AC-electroosmotic flow using electric field manipulation with insulators

C. Tiflidis, Eiko Y. Westerbeek, Koen F.A. Jorissen, Wouter Olthuis, Jan C.T. Eijkel, Wim De Malsche*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
149 Downloads (Pure)


Classically, the configuration of electrodes (conductors) is used as a means to determine AC-electroosmotic flow patterns. In this paper, we use the configuration of insulator materials to achieve AC-electroosmotic flow patterning in a novel approach. We apply AC electric fields between parallel electrodes situated on the top and bottom of a microfluidic channel and separated by an insulating material. Channels of various cross-sectional shapes (e.g.rectangular and parallelogram) were fabricated by shaping the insulating material between the electrodes. We found that vortex flow patterns are induced depending on the cross-sectional shape of the channel. A bell-shaped design with non-orthogonal corners gave rise to 2 vortices, whereas in a channel with a parallelogram shaped cross-section, only a single vortex was observed. The vortices were experimentally observed by analysing the 3D trajectories of fluorescent microparticles. From a theoretical analysis, we conclude that flow shaping is primarily caused by shaping the electrical field lines in the channel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3105-3111
Number of pages7
JournalLab on a chip
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2021


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