Induced charge electro-osmotic concentration gradient generator

Mranal Jain*, Anthony Yeung, K. Nandakumar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Biomolecule gradients play an important role in the understanding of various biological processes. Typically, biological cells are exposed to linear and nonlinear concentration gradients and their response is studied for understanding cell growth, cell migration, and cell differentiation mechanisms. Recent studies have demonstrated the use of microfluidic devices for precise and stable concentration gradient generation. However, most of the reported devices are geometrically complex and lack dynamic controllability. In this work, a novel microfluidic gradient generator is presented which utilizes the induced charge electro-osmosis (ICEO) by introducing conducting obstacle in the microchannel. With the ICEO flow component, significant transverse convection can be generated within the microchannel, which can, in turn, be used to create nonlinear as well as asymmetric gradients. The characteristics of the developed concentration gradient are dependent on the interplay between fixed charge electro-osmotic and ICEO flows. It is shown that the proposed device can switch between linear and nonlinear gradients by just altering the applied electric field. Finally, the formation of user-defined concentration profiles (linear, convex, and concave) is demonstrated by varying the conducting obstacle size.

Original languageEnglish
Article number014110
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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