Microfluidics and Nanofluidics

, Volume 9, Issue 4–5, pp 743–753 | Cite as

A diffusion-based cyclic particle extractor

  • Han-Sheng Chuang
  • Stephen C. Jacobson
  • Steven T. WereleyEmail author
Research Paper


A cyclic particle extractor based on particle diffusion is presented. The extraction realized by the device features simplicity, programmability, and low cost. Although conventional particle separation based on diffusion can be spontaneously realized without any active inputs, the extraction efficiency decreases as the size difference between particles decreases or if the diffusion length is insufficient. In this article, a primary extraction procedure including four operational steps is proposed to facilitate the process. By simply repeating the procedure, the separation scheme is additive, and increased efficiency is observed with each additional cycle. A mixture of 0.5- and 3-μm polystyrene particles was separated in up to 10 extraction cycles. Using a 2.5-Hz phase frequency, the average flow velocity was 2.5 mm/s. An unequal volume ratio of the sample stream to extraction stream (45:55) created a barrier region to help minimize unwanted (large) particles from entering the extraction stream. The initial concentration of the extracted small particles was 7.5% after 2 cycles, but jumped up to 38% after 10 cycles.


Diffusion Particle sorting Extraction H filter PDMS Lab-on-a-chip 



The authors thank National Science Foundation grant NSF CCF-0726821 and NSF CCF-0726694 for support of this work. The authors also acknowledge the technical assistances from Purdue Birck Nanotechnology Center.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MPG 6842 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MPG 3404 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Han-Sheng Chuang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephen C. Jacobson
    • 3
  • Steven T. Wereley
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Mechanical EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Birck Nanotechnology CenterPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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