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Issue 15, 2013
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Microstructure-induced helical vortices allow single-stream and long-term inertial focusing

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Abstract

Fluid inertia has been used to position microparticles in confined channels because it leads to precise and predictable particle migration across streamlines in a high-throughput manner. To focus particles, typically two inertial effects have been employed: inertial migration of particles in combination with geometry-induced secondary flows. Still, the strong scaling of inertial effects with fluid velocity or channel flow rate have made it challenging to design inertial focusing systems for single-stream focusing using large-scale microchannels. Use of large-scale microchannels (≥100 μm) reduces clogging over long durations and could be suitable for non-single-use flow cells in cytometry systems. Here, we show that microstructure-induced helical vortices yield single-stream focusing of microparticles with continuous and robust operation. Numerical and experimental results demonstrate how structures contribute to improve focusing in these larger channels, through controllable cross-stream particle migration, aided by locally-tuned secondary flows from sequential obstacles that act to bring particles closer to a single focusing equilibrium position. The large-scale inertial focuser developed here can be operated in a high-throughput manner with a maximum throughput of approximately 13 000 particles per s.

Graphical abstract: Microstructure-induced helical vortices allow single-stream and long-term inertial focusing

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Publication details

The article was received on 06 Nov 2012, accepted on 05 Apr 2013 and first published on 05 Apr 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3LC41227J
Citation: Lab Chip, 2013,13, 2942-2949
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    Microstructure-induced helical vortices allow single-stream and long-term inertial focusing

    A. J. Chung, D. Pulido, J. C. Oka, H. Amini, M. Masaeli and D. Di Carlo, Lab Chip, 2013, 13, 2942
    DOI: 10.1039/C3LC41227J

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