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Optoelectronic tweezers (OET) are a powerful light-based technique for the manipulation of micro- and nanoscopic particles. In addition to an optically patterned dielectrophoresis (DEP) force, other light-induced electrokinetic and thermal effects occur in the OET device. In this paper, we present a comprehensive theoretical and experimental investigation of various fluidic, optical, and electrical effects present during OET operation. These effects include DEP, light-induced ac electroosmosis, electrothermal flow, and buoyancy-driven flow. We present finite-element modeling of these effects to establish the dominant mode for a given set of device parameters and bias conditions. These results are confirmed experimentally and present a comprehensive outline of the operational regimes of the OET device.
Date of Publication: April 2008