Fabrication of microchannels and associated electrodes to generate electrokinetic phenomena often involves costly materials and considerable effort. In this study, we used graphite pencil-leads as low cost, disposable 3D electrodes to investigate various electrokinetic phenomena in straight cylindrical microchannels, which were themselves fabricated by using a graphite rod as the microchannel mold. Individual pencil-leads were employed as the micro-electrodes arranged along the side walls of the microchannel. Efficient electrokinetic phenomena provided by the 3D electrodes, including alternating current electroosmosis (ACEO), induced-charge electroosmosis (ICEO), and dielectrophoresis (DEP), were demonstrated by the introduced pencil-lead based microfluidic devices. The electrokinetic phenomena were characterized by micro-particle image velocimetry (micro-PIV) measurements and microscopy imaging. Highly efficient electrokinetic phenomena using 3D pencil-lead electrodes showed the affordability and ease of this technique to fabricate microfluidic devices embedded with electrodes for electrokinetic fluid and particle manipulations.
Bashirzadeh, Y., Maruthamuthu, V., & Qian, S. (2016). Electrokinetic phenomena in pencil lead-based microfluidics. Micromachines, 7(12). https://doi.org/10.3390/mi7120235