Expansion channel for microchip flow cytometers
This paper presents a novel way of designing a flow focusing channel for microchip flow cytometers. With this method we increased throughput and sensitivity of particle detection at the same time. Generally, to increase the detection throughput of a flow cytometer, the speed of the flow inside the focusing channel needs to be increased, hence reducing the time of exposure to laser beam. With the shorter exposure time, both the fluorescence and scatter signal from the target particles become dimmer. To increase the sensitivity of signal detection, however, the speed of the flow should be decreased so as to decrease throughput of detection. To overcome this dilemmatic problem, we integrated an expansion channel inside a focusing channel. Signals from particles in an expansion channel were about 10 times brighter than those in a normal channel. With this enhanced sensitivity, we could also speed up the inlet flow, which in turn increases the overall throughput of detection.