Continuous enrichment of low-abundance cell samples using standing surface acoustic waves (SSAW)†
Cell enrichment is a powerful tool in a variety of cellular studies, especially in applications with low-abundance cell types. In this work, we developed a standing surface acoustic wave (SSAW) based microfluidic device for non-contact, continuous cell enrichment. With a pair of parallel interdigital transducers (IDT) deposited on a piezoelectric substrate, a one-dimensional SSAW field was established along disposable micro-tubing channels, generating numerous pressure nodes (and thus numerous cell-enrichment regions). Our method is able to concentrate highly diluted blood cells by more than 100 fold with a recovery efficiency of up to 99%. Such highly effective cell enrichment was achieved without using sheath flow. The SSAW-based technique presented here is simple, bio-compatible, label-free, and sheath-flow-free. With these advantages, it could be valuable for many biomedical applications.