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Effect of the Double Layer on the Dielectrophoretic Motion of Particles

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PIs: T. N. Swaminathan and Howard H. Hu

Develop theoretical models and computational tools to study of assembly of macromolecules and nanotubes using dielectrophresis.

In an electric field, particles suspended in a liquid with different electric properties become polarized. Under the action of a nonuniform electric field, the polarized particle experiences a dielectrophoretic force, and moves accordingly. By proper arrangement of the electric field, one can manipulate the particles and assembly them into desirable patterns. Our approach uses two-way coupling for the motion of particles and fluids. At each time step during the motion, the Laplace equation for the electric field, the Navier-Stokes equations with electric Maxwell stress for the fluid, and the particle equations of motion are solved numerically using finite element technique. To account for the effect of the electric double layer next to the particle surface, a thin-double-layer model is constructed, where the ion distribution, the electric potential, and the induced flow within the double layer are solved analytically using the method of matched asymptotic expansions. This analytical solution in the inner layer is then served as interfacial conditions to match the numerical solutions inside the particle and outside the double layer.

 
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