Wireless electrode (BPE) apply in dielectrophoresis (DEP)

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Yang, Zihan
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Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression
Iowa State University Conferences and Symposia

The Symposium provides undergraduates from all academic disciplines with an opportunity to share their research with the university community and other guests through conference-style oral presentations. The Symposium represents part of a larger effort of Iowa State University to enhance, support, and celebrate undergraduate research activity.

Though coordinated by the University Honors Program, all undergraduate students are eligible and encouraged to participate in the Symposium. Undergraduates conducting research but not yet ready to present their work are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the presentation process and students not currently involved in research are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the broad range of undergraduate research activities that are taking place at ISU.

The first Symposium was held in April 2007. The 39 students who presented research and their mentors collectively represented all of ISU's Colleges: Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and the Graduate College. The event has grown to regularly include more than 100 students presenting on topics that span the broad range of disciplines studied at ISU.


This poster presentation describes the use of spherical metal particles as bipolar electrodes (BPE) for the selective capture of biological cells by dielectrophoresis (DEP). In DEP, local electric field gradients are used to separate cells based on differences in the cells’ dielectric properties. While DEP techniques offer high selectivity without requiring cell labeling steps, they suffer from low throughput (slow processing of sample volume). This challenge can be solved by BPEs, which are ‘wireless’ electrodes. A BPE is a conducting object in an electrolyte, which when exposed to an electrical field can facilitate capacitive charging and faradaic reactions at its opposing ends. Importantly, BPEs can be used to influence the electric field in a solution without the need for wire leads to each electrode. The advantage of using BPEs for DEP is ease of fabrication and high-throughput implementation. Furthermore, the use of magnetic particles as BPEs allows for simple cell recovery. We describe initial progress towards the application of this technique for the separation of cancer cells from blood.

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