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Issue 13, 2012
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Cell separation based on size and deformability using microfluidic funnel ratchets

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Abstract

The separation of biological cells by filtration through microstructured constrictions is limited by unpredictable variations of the filter hydrodynamic resistance as cells accumulate in the microstructure. Applying a reverse flow to unclog the filter will undo the separation and reduce filter selectivity because of the reversibility of low-Reynolds number flow. We introduce a microfluidic structural ratchet mechanism to separate cells using oscillatory flow. Using model cells and microparticles, we confirmed the ability of this mechanism to sort and separate cells and particles based on size and deformability. We further demonstrate that the spatial distribution of cells after sorting is repeatable and that the separation process is irreversible. This mechanism can be applied generally to separate cells that differ based on size and deformability.

Graphical abstract: Cell separation based on size and deformability using microfluidic funnel ratchets

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 Oct 2011, accepted on 16 Mar 2012, published on 19 Apr 2012 and first published online on 19 Apr 2012


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2LC21045B
Citation: Lab Chip, 2012,12, 2369-2376
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    Cell separation based on size and deformability using microfluidic funnel ratchets

    S. M. McFaul, B. K. Lin and H. Ma, Lab Chip, 2012, 12, 2369
    DOI: 10.1039/C2LC21045B

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