A microfluidic-based hydrodynamic trap: design and implementation†
We report an integrated microfluidic device for fine-scale manipulation and confinement of micro- and nanoscale particles in free-solution. Using this device, single particles are trapped in a stagnation point flow at the junction of two intersecting microchannels. The hydrodynamic trap is based on active flow control at a fluid stagnation point using an integrated on-chip valve in a monolithic PDMS-based microfluidic device. In this work, we characterize device design parameters enabling precise control of stagnation point position for efficient trap performance. The microfluidic-based hydrodynamic trap facilitates particle trapping using the sole action of fluid flow and provides a viable alternative to existing confinement and manipulation techniques based on electric, optical, magnetic or acoustic force fields. Overall, the hydrodynamic trap enables non-contact confinement of fluorescent and non-fluorescent particles for extended times and provides a new platform for fundamental studies in biology, biotechnology and materials science.