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In this work we report a microfluidic platform capable of trapping and concentrating a trace amount of DNA molecules efficiently. Our strategy invokes nonlinear electro-osmotic flow induced by charge polarization under high-frequency ac fields. With the asymmetric quadrupoleelectrode design, a unique converging flow structure can be created for generating focusing effects on DNA molecules. This focusing in turn transforms into a robust funnel that can collect DNA molecules distantly from the bulk and pack them into a compact cone with the aid of short-range dipole-induced self-attraction and dielectrophoresis. Our results reveal that not only can DNA molecules be concentrated within just a few seconds, but also they can be focused into threads of in length, demonstrating the superfast and long-range trapping capability of this funnel. In addition, pico M DNA solutions can be concentrated with several decades of enhancement without any continuous feeding. Alternating concentration and release of DNA molecules is also illustrated, which has potentials in concentrating and transporting biomolecules in a continuous fashion using microdevices.


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