Inertial particle focusing and spacing control in microfluidic devices
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Focusing particles into a tight stream is usually a necessary step prior to counting, detecting and sorting them. Meanwhile, particle spacing control in microfluidic devices could also be applied in the field of accurate cell detection, material synthesis and chemical reaction. To achieve simultaneous particle focusing and spacing control, a novel microchannel composed by Dean and sheath flow section was proposed and fabricated according to the elaborated design principle with its manipulating performance in situ visualized. Using microspheres with a few microns as a template, the trajectory of the particles was discovered to follow lateral migration and reach certain equilibrium positions at the end of the designed Dean section. After being focused, the streamline was further concentrated and centralized with a controllable interparticle distance in sheath flow section. For sheath flow section, the angle between symmetrical tributaries and the mainstream channel and abrupt constriction/expansion structure of mainstream channel as important channel geometric features were investigated to minimize the focusing streamline width and optimize spacing control. An modified analytical model for sheath flow with different tributary angles was derived and proved to well describe the microsphere spacing control process.
KeywordsMicrofluidics Sheath flow Dean flow Enhancing inertial focusing Spacing control
This work was supported by Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51606046), Research and Development Project for Application supported by Guangdong (2016B020243010) and International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Project by Guangzhou city (2016201604030063).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declared that they have no conflict of interest.
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