Date of Award

May 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Member

Rodrigo Martinez-Duarte

Committee Member

Mark Blenner

Committee Member

Xiangchun Xuan

Committee Member

Phanindra Tallapragada


In a field dominated by risk assessment, diagnostics could greatly benefit from the use of electric characterization tools. Electric field based diagnostic tools are low risk to the patient, offer high throughputs, and are versatile in the diseases they can diagnose. Even if electrical characterization tools, aren’t yet equal in the diagnostic confidence level produced compared to more established FDA approved techniques like the agar plate, when a patients symptoms indicate the necessity for time efficient treatment, electrical characterization could provide a rapid, safe alternative diagnostic tool to be used in tandem with other existing techniques. The work presented in this dissertation will focus on gaining understanding for a single electrokinetic domain; Dielectrophoresis (DEP). DEP is a proven and reliable technique for the manipulation, separation, and enrichment of many microorganisms including but certainly not limited to bacteria, DNA and bloodborne pathogens [1–8]. DEP is a noncontact, non invasive technique that would pose low patient risk with regards to diagnosis. The versatility in the variety of microorganisms that exhibit a DEP response and its proven ability to separate cells are a promising characteristics that can be exploited for the development of a novel diagnostic tool.



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