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Lab Chip. 2008 Dec;8(12):2128-34. doi: 10.1039/b813434k. Epub 2008 Oct 30.

Microvortex for focusing, guiding and sorting of particles.

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BioMEMS Resource Center, Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgical Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Shriners Hospital for Children, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA02114, USA.


We report a microvortex manipulator (MVM) that is a passive, scalable system with great potential for the manipulation and separation of particulate samples in microfluidic environments. The movement of particles is determined by a unique combination of helical flow, buoyant, and gravitational forces. Helical flows are induced by topographically patterned microchannel surfaces, which have previously been used for molecular mixing in microfluidic devices. We illustrate the mechanism of MVM and its applications in passive focusing of beads and cells into parallel streams and guiding of particles and cells. We also explore the application of the unique density-selectivity of microvortex focusing and successfully sort a mixture of two bead populations whose density difference is as small as 0.1 g cm(-3).

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