Enhanced inertial focusing of microparticles and cells by integrating trapezoidal microchambers in spiral microfluidic channels†
In this work, manipulating width and equilibrium position of fluorescent microparticles in spiral microchannel fractionation devices by embedding microchambers along the last turn of a spiral is reported. Microchambers with different shapes and sizes were tested at Reynolds numbers between 15.7 and 156.6 (100–1000 μL min−1) to observe focusing of 2, 5 and 10 μm fluorescent microparticles. This paper also discusses the fabrication process of the microfluidic chips with femtosecond laser ablation on glass wafers, as well as a particle imaging velocimetry (μPIV) study of microparticle trajectories inside a microchamber. It could be demonstrated with an improved final design with inclined microchamber side walls, that the 2 μm particle equilibrium position is shifted towards the inner wall by ∼27 μm and the focusing line's width is reduced by ∼18 μm. Finally, Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast cells were tested in the final chip and a cell focusing efficiency of 99.1% is achieved.