The equilibrium velocity of spherical particles in rectangular microfluidic channels for size measurement
According to the Segré–Silberberg effect, spherical particles migrate to a lateral equilibrium position in parabolic flow profiles. Here, for the first time, the corresponding equilibrium velocity is studied experimentally for micro particles in channels with rectangular cross section. Micro channels are fabricated in PMMA substrate based on a hot embossing process. To measure individual particle velocities at very high precision, the technique of spatially modulated emission is applied. It is found that the equilibrium velocity is size-dependent and the method offers a new way to measure particle size in microfluidic systems. The method is of particular interest for microfluidic flow cytometry as it delivers an alternative to the scatter signal for cell size determination.