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Electric tempest in a teacup: The tea leaf analogy to microfluidic blood plasma separation

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In a similar fashion to Einstein's tea leaf paradox, the rotational liquid flow induced by ionic wind above a liquid surface can trap suspended microparticles by a helical motion, spinning them down towards a bottom stagnation point. The motion is similar to Batchelor [Q. J. Mech. Appl. Math. 4, 29 (1951)] flows occurring between stationary and rotating disks and arises due to a combination of the primary azimuthal and secondary bulk meridional recirculation that produces a centrifugal and enhanced inward radial force near the chamber bottom. The technology is thus useful for microfluidic particle trapping/concentration; the authors demonstrate its potential for rapid erythrocyte/blood plasma separation for miniaturized medical diagnostic kits. © 2006 American Institute of Physics.

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