Nanoscale sensor analysis using the immersed molecular electrokinetic finite element method

Adrian M. Kopacz*, Woon Hong Yeo, Jae Hyun Chung, Wing K Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The concentration and detection of molecular biomarkers remain as a challenge to develop point-of-care diagnostic devices. An electric field induced concentration has been studied for such purposes but with limited success due to limited efficacy. This paper presents a computational study for investigating the molecular concentration and retention efficacy of single nanowire (SNW) and dendritic nanotip (DNT) sensors. Our computational results indicate that compared to a DNT, the SNW sensor produces higher dielectrophoretic (DEP) forces in the vicinity of the terminal end of the tip. Furthermore, the magnitude of the DEP force increases exponentially as the diameter of the SNW is decreased, resulting in a further improved retention efficacy of NPs. However, the SNW sensor's concentration efficacy was not much improved for NPs smaller than 10 nm diameter when the nanowire diameter was reduced from 500 to 50 nm. Compared to the SNW, the DNT sensor showed improved concentration efficacy due to multiple points of electric field concentrations, which retard the exponential decay of the DEP force resulting in a greater widespread region where the DEP force dominates the Brownian motion forces. When oligonucleotides are used as a target particle, the DEP force can be used to elongate oligonucleotides to further enhance the concentration and retention efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5189-5194
Number of pages6
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 21 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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