In this article the forces associated with the gradients of a radio frequency (RF) field at the boundary between fluids and cell membranes are calculated, and it is shown that they can be large enough to affect the particle motion by amounts that are on the same order of magnitude as the random diffusion motion when the energy imparted to the particles is a reasonable fraction of the thermal energy. The induced dipole moment is assumed to track the alternating RF so that the force exerted by the gradient is in a constant direction; and this in turn leads to a modification of the particle distribution, even when the energy added to the particle is very small. For RF fields of 45 V/m the energy acquired by an induced dipole moment is expected to be on the order of a micro electron volt and small compared to the average thermal energy. Bioelectromagnetics 26:118–124, 2005. © 2005 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.