Rectified motion of colloids in asymmetrically structured channels

Phys Rev Lett. 2002 Apr 22;88(16):168301. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.88.168301. Epub 2002 Apr 8.


We set micron size particles into macroscopic motion by submitting them to a low frequency electric field (of zero mean value) in a microfabricated channel exhibiting a topological ratchet-like local polarity. Rectification is induced by the coupling between electrophoresis, electroosmosis, and dielectrophoresis. The macroscopic velocities of the particles are functions of the electric field and of the geometry of the channel; they strongly depend on their size which opens the way to potential separations.