A novel micro/nano fabrication process based on the combined use of dielectrophoresis, electroosmotic flow, and electrodeposition for surface patterning
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© 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd. In this work, a novel application of electrokinetic forces is presented. Employing a gold interdigitated electrode array (IDEA), dielectrophoresis (a force acting on polarizable material) and electroosmosis (a force acting on ionic fluids) were utilized as microfabrication tools. Through electroosmotic flow, particles were dragged toward dielectrophoretic trapping zones, where they were held. Then polypyrrole, an electroconductive material with good mechanical and electrical properties, wide electrochemical window, and ease of fabrication, was electrodeposited onto the gold IDEA surface, permanently entrapping the microparticles within the structure. The process was tested employing organic (polystyrene), inorganic (silicon), and biologic (yeast cells) microparticles, all of which were successfully trapped. Computational models were developed to predict the electrokinetic response of the microparticles and compared to experimental observations. It was demonstrated that this process can be used to produce hierarchical structures through sequential repetition of entrapment cycles. Additionally, it is compatible with the Carbon-MEMS process. The fabrication process presented in this paper opens a wide range of applications that include: energy storage devices, scaffolds for cell culture, biomedical devices, electrochemical sensors, electrokinetic devices, among many others.