Cell sorting using electrokinetic deterministic lateral displacement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We show that by combining deterministic lateral displacement (DLD) with electrokinetics, it is possible to sort cells based on differences in their membrane and/or internal structures. Using heat to deactivate cells, which change their viability and structure, we then demonstrate sorting of a mixture of viable and non-viable cells for two different cell types. For Escherichia coli, the size change due to deactivation is insufficient to allow size-based DLD separation. Our method instead leverages the considerable change in zeta potential to achieve separation at low frequency. Conversely, for Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Baker’s yeast) the heat treatment does not result in any significant change of zeta potential. Instead, we perform the sorting at higher frequency and utilize what we believe is a change in dielectrophoretic mobility for the separation. We expect our work to form a basis for the development of simple, low-cost, continuous label-free methods that can separate cells and bioparticles based on their intrinsic properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Condensed Matter Physics

Free keywords

  • Charge-based separation
  • Dielectrophoresis
  • Electrokinetic deterministic lateral displacement


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