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Microsyst Nanoeng. 2019 Jun 3;5:32. doi: 10.1038/s41378-019-0064-3. eCollection 2019.

Acoustofluidic separation of cells and particles.

Author information

1Department of Mechanical Engineering and Material Science, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708 USA.
2Mechanical Engineering Department, Aydin Adnan Menderes University, 09010 Aydin, Turkey.
3Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA.


Acoustofluidics, the integration of acoustics and microfluidics, is a rapidly growing research field that is addressing challenges in biology, medicine, chemistry, engineering, and physics. In particular, acoustofluidic separation of biological targets from complex fluids has proven to be a powerful tool due to the label-free, biocompatible, and contact-free nature of the technology. By carefully designing and tuning the applied acoustic field, cells and other bioparticles can be isolated with high yield, purity, and biocompatibility. Recent advances in acoustofluidics, such as the development of automated, point-of-care devices for isolating sub-micron bioparticles, address many of the limitations of conventional separation tools. More importantly, advances in the research lab are quickly being adopted to solve clinical problems. In this review article, we discuss working principles of acoustofluidic separation, compare different approaches of acoustofluidic separation, and provide a synopsis of how it is being applied in both traditional applications, such as blood component separation, cell washing, and fluorescence activated cell sorting, as well as emerging applications, including circulating tumor cell and exosome isolation.


Chemistry; Engineering; Nanoscience and technology

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interestT.J.H. has four US patents (patent numbers: 8,573,060; 9,608,547; 9,606,086; and 9,757,699) related to acoustofluidics and acoustic tweezers. He has also co-founded a start-up company, Ascent Bio-Nano Technologies Inc., to commercialize technologies involving acoustofluidics and acoustic tweezers.

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