Particle-particle interaction plays a crucial role in determining the movement and alignment of particles under dielectrophoresis (DEP). Previous research efforts focus on studying the mechanism governing the alignment of spherical particles with similar sizes in a static condition. Different approaches have been developed to simulate the alignment process of a given number of particles from several up to thousands depending on the applicability of the approaches. However, restricted by the simplification of electric field distribution and use of identical spherical particles, not much new understanding has been gained apart from the most common phenomenon of pearl chain formation. To enhance the understanding of particle-particle interaction, the movement of pearl chains under DEP in a flow condition was studied and a new type of tumbling motion with unknown mechanism was observed. For interactions among non-spherical particles, some preceding works have been done to simulate the alignment of ellipsoidal particles. Yet the modeling results do not match experimental observations. In this paper, the authors applied the newly developed volumetric polarization and integration (VPI) method to elucidate the underlying mechanism for the newly observed movement of pearl chains under DEP in a flow condition and explain the alignment patterns of ellipsoidal particles. The modeling results show satisfactory agreement with experimental observations, which proves the strength of the VPI method in explaining complicated DEP phenomena.

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Published in Micromachines, v. 9, issue 6, 279, p. 1-16.

© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This research was funded by Tokyo Electron.