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AC Electroosmosis: Basics and Lab-on-a-Chip Applications

Synonyms

Induced-charge electroosmosis

Definition

Microelectrode structures subjected to AC voltages can generate flow of aqueous solutions by the influence of the AC field on the charges induced by itself at the electrode–electrolyte interface, i.e., induced charges in the electrical double layer (EDL). The phenomenon is called AC Electroosmosis (ACEO) in analogy with the “classical” electroosmosis, where fluid flow is generated by the action of an applied electric field on the mobile charge of a given solid–liquid interface [1]. The main difference is that the applied field in ACEO is responsible for both inducing the charge and pulling on it. The term Induced-Charge Electrokinetics (ICEK) has been proposed to refer to all phenomena where the electric field acts on the electrical double layer induced by itself [2].

Basic Mechanism

Possibly, the simplest system for the study of AC Electroosmosis consists of a couple of