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Dielectrophoretic separation of blood cells

Emmerich, Maria E. P.; Sinnigen, Anne-Sophie; Neubauer, Peter; Birkholz , Mario

FG Bioverfahrenstechnik

Microfluidic dielectrophoretic (DEP) devices enable the label-free separation and isolation of cells based on differences in their electrophysiological properties. The technique can serve as a tool in clinical diagnostics and medical research as it facilitates the analysis of patient-specific blood composition and the detection and isolation of pathogenic cells like circulating tumor cells or malaria-infected erythrocytes. This review compares different microfluidic DEP devices to separate platelets, erythrocytes and leukocytes including their cellular subclasses. An overview and experimental setups of different microfluidic DEP devices for the separation, trapping and isolation or purification of blood cells are detailed with respect to their technical design, electrode configuration, sample preparation, applied voltage and frequency and created DEP field based and related to the separation efficiency. The technique holds the promise that results can quickly be attained in clinical and ambulant settings. In particular, point-of-care-testing scenarios are favored by the extensive miniaturization, which would be enabled by microelectronical integration of DEP devices.