A novel method to construct 3D electrodes at the sidewall of microfluidic channel

Shunbo Li, Ming Li, Yu Sanna Hui, Wenbin Cao, Weihua Li, Weijia Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


We report a simple, low-cost and novel method for constructing three-dimensional (3D) microelectrodes in microfluidic system by utilizing low melting point metal alloy. Three-dimensional electrodes have unique properties in application of cell lysis, electro-osmosis, electroporation and dielectrophoresis. The fabrication process involves conventional photolithography and sputtering techniques to fabricate planar electrodes, positioning bismuth (Bi) alloy microspheres at the sidewall of PDMS channel, plasma bonding and low temperature annealing to improve electrical connection between metal microspheres and planar electrodes. Compared to other fabrication methods for 3D electrodes, the presented one does not require rigorous experimental conditions, cumbersome processes and expensive equipments. Numerical analysis on electric field distribution with different electrode configurations was presented to verify the unique field distribution of arc-shaped electrodes. The application of 3D electrode configuration with high-conductive alloy microspheres was confirmed by particle manipulation based on dielectrophoresis. The proposed technique offers alternatives to construct 3D electrodes from 2D electrodes. More importantly, the simplicity of the fabrication process provides easy ways to fabricate electrodes fast with arc-shaped geometry at the sidewall of microchannel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-508
Number of pages10
JournalMicrofluidics and Nanofluidics
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Microfluidics
  • Three-dimensional electrodes
  • Low melting temperature Bi alloy
  • Dielectrophoresis (DEP)
  • Particle manipulation


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