Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 395, Issue 7, pp 2415–2421 | Cite as

Droplet-based magnetically activated cell separation: analysis of separation efficiency based on the variation of flow-induced circulation in a pendent drop

  • Youngho Kim
  • Sang Ho Lee
  • Byungkyu Kim
Technical Note


Under the assumption that separation efficiencies are mainly affected by the velocity of flow-induced circulation due to buffer injection in a pendent drop, this paper describes an analysis of the separation efficiency of a droplet-based magnetically activated cell separation (DMACS) system. To investigate the velocity of the flow-induced circulation, we supposed that numerous flows in a pendent drop could be considered as a “theoretically normalized” flow (or conceptually normalized flow, CNF) based on the Cauchy–Goursat theorem. With the morphological characteristics (length and duration time) of a pendent drop depending on the initial volume, we obtained the velocities of the CNF. By measuring the separation efficiencies for different initial volumes and by analyzing the separation efficiency in terms of the velocity of the CNF, we found that the separation efficiencies (in the case of a low rate of buffer injection; 5 and 15 μl·min-1) are mainly affected by the velocity of the CNF. Moreover, we confirmed that the phenomenological features of a pendent drop cause a fluctuation of its separation efficiencies over a range of specific volumes (initial volumes ranging from 40 to 80 µl), because of the “sweeping-off” phenomenon, that is, positive cells gathered into the positive fraction are forced to move away from the magnetic side by flow-induced circulation due to buffer injection. In addition, from the variation of the duration time, that is, the interval between the beginning of injection of the buffer solution and the time at which a pendent drop detaches, it could also be confirmed that a shorter duration time leads to decrease of the number of positive cells in negative fraction regardless of the rate of buffer injection (5, 15, and 50 μl·min-1). Therefore, if a DMACS system is operated with a 15 μl·min-1 buffer injection flow rate and an initial volume of 80 μl or more, we would have the best efficiency of separation in the negative fraction.


Cell separation Droplet-based magnetically activated cell separation Flow-induced circulation Pendent drop Magnet 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Korea Aerospace University Robotics Center, Korea Aerospace UniversityGoyang, Gyeonggi-doKorea
  2. 2.Laboratory of Reproductive & Developmental Biology, School of Life Sciences and BiotechnologyKorea UniversitySeongbuk-gu, SeoulKorea

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