Open channel deterministic lateral displacement for particle and cell sorting
We present the use of capillary driven flow over patterned surfaces to achieve cheap and simple, but powerful separation of biologically relevant particle systems. The wide use of microfluidics is often hampered by the propensity for devices to clog due to the small channel sizes and the inability to access the interior of devices for cleaning. Often the devices can only be used for a limited duration and most frequently only once. In addition the cost and power requirements of flow control equipment limits the wider spread of the devices. We address these issues by presenting a simple particle- and cell-sorting scheme based on controlled fluid flow on a patterned surface. The open architecture makes it highly robust and easy to use. If clogging occurs it is straightforward to rinse the device and reuse it. Instead of external mechanical pumps, paper is used as a capillary pump. The different fractions are deposited in the paper and can subsequently be handled independently by simply cutting the paper for downstream processing and analyses. The sorting, based on deterministic lateral displacement, performs equivalently well in comparison with standard covered devices. We demonstrate successful separation of cancer cells and parasites from blood with good viability and with relevance for diagnostics and sample preparation. Sorting a mixture of soil and blood, we show the potential for forensic applications.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Open Access Articles