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Biomicrofluidics. 2014 Jan 14;8(1):014101. doi: 10.1063/1.4862355. eCollection 2014 Jan.

Microfluidic electrical sorting of particles based on shape in a spiral microchannel.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 29634-0921, USA.
Institute of Micro/Nanotechnology, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia 23529, USA.
School of Mechanical Engineering, Yeungnam University, Gyongsan 712-719, South Korea.


Shape is an intrinsic marker of cell cycle, an important factor for identifying a bioparticle, and also a useful indicator of cell state for disease diagnostics. Therefore, shape can be a specific marker in label-free particle and cell separation for various chemical and biological applications. We demonstrate in this work a continuous-flow electrical sorting of spherical and peanut-shaped particles of similar volumes in an asymmetric double-spiral microchannel. It exploits curvature-induced dielectrophoresis to focus particles to a tight stream in the first spiral without any sheath flow and subsequently displace them to shape-dependent flow paths in the second spiral without any external force. We also develop a numerical model to simulate and understand this shape-based particle sorting in spiral microchannels. The predicted particle trajectories agree qualitatively with the experimental observation.

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