Our goal is to design, fabricate, and characterize a pillar-based microfluidic device for size-based separation of human blood cells on an elastomeric substrate with application in the low-cost rapid prototyping of lab-chip devices. The single inlet single outlet device is using parallel U-shape arrays of pillars with cutoff size of 5.5 μm for trapping white blood cells (WBCs) in a pillar chamber with internal dead-volume of less than 1.0 μl. The microstructures are designed to limit the elastomeric deformation against fluid pressures. Numerical analysis showed that at maximum pressure loss of 15 kPa which is lower than the device conformal bonding strength, the pillar elastomeric deformation is less than 5% for flow rates of up to 1.0 ml min(-1). Molding technique was employed for device prototyping using polyurethane methacrylate (PUMA) resin and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) mold. Characterization of the dual-layer device with beads and blood samples is performed. Tests with blood injection showed that ∼18%-25% of WBCs are trapped and ∼84%-89% of red blood cells (RBCs) are passed at flow rates of 15-50 μl min(-1) with a slight decrease of WBCs trap and improve of the RBCs pass at higher flow rates. Similar results were obtained by separation of mixed microspheres of different size injected at flow rates of up to 400 μl min(-1). Tests with blood samples stained by fluorescent gel demonstrated that the WBCs are accumulated in the arrays of pillars that later end up to blockage of the device. Filtration results of using elastomeric substrate present a good consistency with the trend of separation efficiencies of the similar silicon-based filters.
Whilst laboratory-on-chip cell separation systems using dielectrophoresis are increasingly reported in the literature, many systems are afflicted by factors which impede "real world" performance, chief among these being cell loss (in dead spaces, attached to glass and tubing surfaces, or sedimentation from flow), and designs with large channel height-to-width ratios (large channel widths, small channel heights) that make the systems difficult to interface with other microfluidic systems. In this paper, we present a scalable structure based on 3D wells with approximately unity height-to-width ratios (based on tubes with electrodes on the sides), which is capable of enriching yeast cell populations whilst ensuring that up to 94.3% of cells processed through the device can be collected in tubes beyond the output.
The ability to drive microcentrifugation for efficient micromixing and particle concentration and separation on a microfluidic platform is critical for a wide range of lab-on-a-chip applications. In this work, we investigate the use of amplitude modulation to enhance the efficiency of the microcentrifugal recirculation flows in surface acoustic wave microfluidic systems, thus concomitantly reducing the power consumption in these devices for a given performance requirement-a crucial step in the development of miniaturized, integrated circuits for true portable functionality. In particular, we show that it is possible to obtain an increase of up to 60% in the acoustic streaming velocity in a microdroplet with kHz order modulation frequencies due to the intensification in Eckart streaming; the streaming velocity is increasing as the modulation index is increased. Additionally, we show that it is possible to exploit this streaming enhancement to effect improvements in the speed of particle concentration by up to 70% and the efficiency of micromixing by 50%, together with a modest decrease in the droplet temperature.
The recent advancement of dielectrophoresis (DEP)-enabled microfluidic platforms is opening new opportunities for potential use in cancer disease diagnostics. DEP is advantageous because of its specificity, low cost, small sample volume requirement, and tuneable property for microfluidic platforms. These intrinsic advantages have made it especially suitable for developing microfluidic cancer diagnostic platforms. This review focuses on a comprehensive analysis of the recent developments of DEP enabled microfluidic platforms sorted according to the target cancer cell. Each study is critically analyzed, and the features of each platform, the performance, added functionality for clinical use, and the types of samples, used are discussed. We address the novelty of the techniques, strategies, and design configuration used in improving on existing technologies or previous studies. A summary of comparing the developmental extent of each study is made, and we conclude with a treatment of future trends and a brief summary.