Effect of reservoir geometry on vortex trapping of cancer cells

  • P. PaièEmail author
  • J. Che
  • D. Di Carlo
Research Paper


Vortex-aided particle separation is a powerful method to efficiently isolate circulating tumor cells from blood, since it allows high throughput and continuous sample separation, with no need for time-consuming sample preprocessing. With this approach, only the larger particles from a heterogeneous sample will be stably trapped in reservoirs that expand from a straight microfluidic channel, allowing for efficient particle sorting along with simultaneous concentration. A possible limitation is related to the loss of particles from vortex traps due to particle–particle interactions that limit the final cellularity of the enriched solution. It is fundamental to minimize this issue considering that a scant number of target cells are diluted in highly cellular blood. In this work, we present a device for size-based particle separation, which exploits the well-consolidated vortex-aided sorting, but new reservoir layouts are presented and investigated in order to increase the trapping efficiency of the chip. Through simulations and experimental validations, we have been able to optimize the device design to increase the maximum number of particles that can be stably trapped in each reservoir and therefore the total efficiency of the chip.


Inertial microfluidics Size-based separation Vortex-aided sorting Trapping stability optimization 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto di Fotonica e Nanotecnologie (IFN)-CNR and Dipartimento di FisicaPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of BioengineeringUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Vortex Biosciences Inc.Menlo ParkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.California NanoSystems InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  6. 6.Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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