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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2012 Dec;86(6 Pt 2):066306. Epub 2012 Dec 11.

Lateral migration of an elastic capsule by optical force in a uniform flow.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, KAIST, 291 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-701, Korea.


The lateral migration of an elastic capsule under an optical force in a uniform flow was studied to show the separation characteristics according to the elastic properties in the cross-type optical separator. The initially spherical capsule was moved through the fluid flow using a laser beam with a Gaussian distribution focused along the direction normal to the flow device surface. To simulate such a system, a penalty immersed boundary method was adopted to enable fluid-membrane coupling, and a dynamic ray tracing method was applied to the optical force calculation. The effects of the elastic properties of the capsule membrane (the surface Young's modulus and the bending modulus) on the lateral migration were studied. By increasing the surface Young's modulus, the capsule deformed less and the migration distance increased; however, buckling occurred in the capsule with a high surface Young's modulus. Buckling could be suppressed by increasing the bending rigidity. The effects of the flow velocity and the laser beam power were also examined. In the simulation, the S number, i.e., the ratio of the optical force to the viscous force, was adjusted by decreasing the flow velocity or increasing the laser beam power. The migration distance increased as the S number increased, and a constant lateral migration distance was obtained for a rigid particle for a given S number. An elastic capsule under conditions intermediate between a fixed flow velocity and a fixed laser beam power, however, did not yield a constant lateral migration distance due to the extent of the deformation in the different situations. To predict the lateral migration distance of an elastic capsule, a nondimensional parameter, S_{e}, was defined to include the effects of the optical force, the elastic force, and the fluid viscous force. A unified tendency of the lateral migration distance with S_{e} was obtained for capsules with intermediate elasticity, by varying either the flow velocity or the laser beam power.

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