Straightforward 3D hydrodynamic focusing in femtosecond laser fabricated microfluidic channels
We report on the use of femtosecond laser irradiation followed by chemical etching as a microfabrication tool for innovative microfluidic networks that implement hydrodynamic focusing. The capability of our microfabrication technology to interconnect microchannels in three dimensions was exploited to demonstrate 2D hydrodynamic focusing, either in the horizontal or in the vertical plane, and full 3D hydrodynamic focusing. In all cases only two inlets were required, one for the sample and one for the sheath flows. Fluidic characterization of all devices was provided. In addition, taking advantage of the possibility to write optical waveguides using the same technology, a monolithic cell counter based on 3D hydrodynamic focusing and integrated optical detection was validated. Counting rates up to 5000 cells s−1 were achieved in this very compact device, where focusing and counting operations were implemented in less than 1 mm3. Integration of this hydrodynamic focusing module into several devices fabricated by the same technology as optical cell stretchers and cell sorters is envisaged.