Flow metering characterization within an electrical cell counting microfluidic device†
Microfluidic devices based on the Coulter principle require a small aperture for cell counting. For applications using such cell counting devices, the volume of the sample also needs to be metered to determine the absolute cell count in a specific volume. Hence, integrated methods to characterize and meter the volume of a fluid are required in these microfluidic devices. Here, we present fluid flow characterization and electrically-based sample metering results of blood through a measurement channel with a cross-section of 15 μm × 15 μm (i.e. the Coulter aperture). Red blood cells in whole blood are lysed and the remaining fluid, consisting of leukocytes, erythrocyte cell lysate and various reagents, is flown at different flow rates through the measurement aperture. The change in impedance across the electrodes embedded in the counting channel shows a linear relationship with the increase in the fluid flow rate. We also show that the fluid volume can be determined by measuring the decrease in pulse width, and increase in number of cells as they pass through the counting channel per unit time.