Malaria is a serious disease caused by Plasmodium parasites infecting red blood cells. This paper presents the continuous separation of malaria-infected red blood cells from normal blood cells. The proposed method employed the discrete dielectrophoresis (DEP) in a microfluidic device with interdigitated electrodes. Our aim is to treat a sample having high concentration of cells to realize high throughput, and to prevent the clogging of the microchannel with the use of the discrete DEP. The discrete DEP force for deflecting cells in the device was controlled by adjusting the magnitude, frequency, and duty cycle of the applied voltage. The effectiveness of the proposed method was demonstrated by separating the malaria-infected cells in samples having cell concentration of 106 cells/μl. From experimental results, we determined the enrichment, which is needed to enhance the detection in the case of low parasitemia. The enrichment of the infected cells at the device output was 3000 times as high as that of the input containing 1 infected cell to 106 normal cells. Therefore, the proposed method is highly effective and can significantly facilitate the detection of the infected cells for identification of Malaria patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Chulalongkorn University, Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand.