Particle dynamics and rapid trapping in electro-osmotic flow around a sharp microchannel corner

Matan Zehavi, Gilad Yossifon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study here the curious particle dynamics resulting from electro-osmotic flow around amicrochannel junction corner whose dielectric walls are weakly polarizable. The hydrodynamic velocity field is obtained via superposition of a linear irrotational term associated with the equilibrium zeta potentials of both the microchannel and particle surfaces and the nonlinear induced-charge electro-osmotic flow which originates from the interaction of the externally applied electric field on the charge cloud it induces at the solid-liquid interface. The particle dynamics are analyzed by considering dielectrophoretic forces via the addition of a mobility term to the flow field in the limit of Stokes drag law. The former, non-divergence free term is responsible for migration of particles towards the sharp microchannel junction corner, where they can potentially accumulate. Experimental observations of particle trapping for various applied electric fields and microparticle size are rationalized in terms of the growing relative importance of the dielectrophoretic force and induced-charge contributions to the global velocity field with increasing intensity of the externally applied electric field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number082002
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number8
StatePublished - 6 Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


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