A portable, hand-powered microfluidic device for sorting of biological particles

  • Sheng YanEmail author
  • Say Hwa Tan
  • Yuxing Li
  • Shiyang Tang
  • Adrian J. T. Teo
  • Jun Zhang
  • Qianbin Zhao
  • Dan Yuan
  • Ronald Sluyter
  • N. T. Nguyen
  • Weihua LiEmail author
Research Paper


Manually hand-powered portable microfluidic devices are cheap alternatives for point-of-care diagnostics. Currently, on-field tests are limited by the use of bulky syringe pumps, pressure controller and equipment. In this work, we present a manually operated microfluidic device incorporated with a groove-based channel. We show that the device is capable to effectively sort particles/cells by manual hand powering. First, the grooved-based channel with differently sized polystyrene particles was characterized using syringe pumps to study their distributions under various flow rate conditions. Afterward, the particle mixtures were sorted manually using hand power to verify the capability of this device. Finally, the manually operated device was used to sort platelets from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The platelets were collected with a purity of ~ 100%. The purity of PBMCs was enhanced from 0.8 to 10.4% after multiple processes which results in an enrichment ratio of 13.8. During the process of manual hand pumping, the flow fluctuation caused by unstable injection will not influence the sorting performance. Due to its simplicity, this manually operated microfluidic chip is suitable for outfield settings.



This work was performed in part at the Queensland Node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility, a company established under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy to provide nano- and microfabrication facilities for Australia’s researchers. S.H Tan and N.T.N. gratefully acknowledge the support of the Australian Research Council Linkage Grant (LP150100153), DECRA Fellowship (DE170100600), Griffith University-Peking University Collaboration Grant and Griffith University/Simon Fraser University Collaborative Grant.

Authors’ contributions

SY, YXL and SYT designed and conducted the experiments, SHT and JTT fabricated the microchannel, and QBZ, DY and RS helped in preparing cell sample. SY wrote the manuscript. WHL, NTN, RS, SYT, JZ and SYT revised and commented the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10404_2017_2026_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 3104 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical, Materials and Mechatronic EngineeringUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  2. 2.Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology CentreGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Mechanical EngineeringNanjing University of Science and TechnologyNanjingChina
  4. 4.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  5. 5.Illawarra Health and Medical Research InstituteWollongongAustralia

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