This paper describes a concept of concentration and binary separation of particles and its experimental confirmations for digital microfluidics where droplets are driven by the mechanism of electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD). As a fundamental separation unit, a binary separation scheme is developed, separating two different types of particles in one droplet into two droplets, one type each. The separation scheme consists of three distinctive steps, each with their own challenges: (1) isolate two different types of particles by electrophoresis into two regions inside a mother droplet, (2) physically split the mother droplet into two daughter droplets by EWOD actuation so that each type of particle is concentrated in each daughter droplet, and (3) free the daughter droplets from the separation site by EWOD to ready them for follow-up microfluidic operations. By applying a similar procedure to a droplet containing only one type of particle, two daughter droplets of different particle concentrations can be created. Using negatively charged carboxylate modified latex (CML) particles, 83% of the total particles are concentrated in a daughter droplet. Successful binary separation is also demonstrated using negatively charged CML particles and no-charge-treated polystyrene particles. Despite the undesired vortex developed inside the mother droplet, about 70% of the total CML particles are concentrated in one daughter droplet while about 70% of the total polystyrene particles are concentrated in the other daughter droplet.
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