Blood platelet enrichment in mass-producible surface acoustic wave (SAW) driven microfluidic chips†
The ability to separate specific biological components from cell suspensions is indispensable for liquid biopsies, and for personalized diagnostics and therapy. This paper describes an advanced surface acoustic wave (SAW) based device designed for the enrichment of platelets (PLTs) from a dispersion of PLTs and red blood cells (RBCs) at whole blood concentrations, opening new possibilities for diverse applications involving cell manipulation with high throughput. The device is made of patterned SU-8 photoresist that is lithographically defined on the wafer scale with a new proposed methodology. The blood cells are initially focused and subsequently separated by an acoustic radiation force (ARF) applied through standing SAWs (SSAWs). By means of flow cytometric analysis, the PLT concentration factor was found to be 7.7, and it was proven that the PLTs maintain their initial state. A substantially higher cell throughput and considerably lower applied powers than comparable devices from literature were achieved. In addition, fully coupled 3D numerical simulations based on SAW wave field measurements were carried out to anticipate the coupling of the wave field into the fluid, and to obtain the resulting pressure field. A comparison to the acoustically simpler case of PDMS channel walls is given. The simulated results show an ideal match to the experimental observations and offer the first insights into the acoustic behavior of SU-8 as channel wall material. The proposed device is compatible with current (Lab-on-a-Chip) microfabrication techniques allowing for mass-scale, reproducible chip manufacturing which is crucial to push the technology from lab-based to real-world applications.