Dielectrophoresis: Developments and applications from 2010 to 2020

Benjamin Sarno, Daniel Heineck, Michael J. Heller, Stuart D. Ibsen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The 20th century has seen tremendous innovation of dielectrophoresis (DEP) technologies, with applications being developed in areas ranging from industrial processing to micro- and nanoscale biotechnology. From 2010 to present day, there have been 981 publications about DEP. Of over 2600 DEP patents held by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, 106 were filed in 2019 alone. This review focuses on DEP-based technologies and application developments between 2010 and 2020, with an aim to highlight the progress and to identify potential areas for future research. A major trend over the last 10 years has been the use of DEP techniques for biological and clinical applications. It has been used in various forms on a diverse array of biologically derived molecules and particles to manipulate and study them including proteins, exosomes, bacteria, yeast, stem cells, cancer cells, and blood cells. DEP has also been used to manipulate nano- and micron-sized particles in order to fabricate different structures. The next 10 years are likely to see the increase in DEP-related patent applications begin to result in a greater level of technology commercialization. Also during this time, innovations in DEP technology will likely be leveraged to continue the existing trend to further biological and medical-focused applications as well as applications in microfabrication. As a tool leveraged by engineering and imaginative scientific design, DEP offers unique capabilities to manipulate small particles in precise ways that can help solve problems and enable scientific inquiry that cannot be addressed using conventional methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-564
Number of pages26
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Biotechnology
  • Cell separation
  • Dielectrophoresis
  • Nanofabrication
  • Nanotechnology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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