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Published August 2008 | Published
Journal Article Open

Streamline-Based Microfluidic Devices for Erythrocytes and Leukocytes Separation


In this paper, we report two devices for the continuous size-based separation of particles, such as blood cells, which is an important step for on-chip blood preparation. Unlike previously demonstrated passive fluidic devices for particle separation, the local geometry of the bifurcated side channels was used as a design parameter. The design of the devices was based on 2-D fluidic simulation of a T-shaped model. This novel approach was proved to be effective in predicting device performance. The critical particle size for separation was clearly defined in the bifurcated region by simulation under the established theoretical framework. We validated the operation principle of the devices by separating 5- and 10-μm polystyrene beads. Human leukocytes were also successfully separated from erythrocytes with 97% efficiency. The separation region of the device had a small footprint for the separation of particles in micrometer range, which makes this device a good candidate to be integrated into a lab-on-a-chip system. The particles were collected in different exit channels after they were separated, which facilitated further sensing and processing. Similar to cross-flow filters, particles were separated perpendicular to the flow direction. The filtering effect was achieved with the collection zones established by the fluidic field. Clogging was minimized by designing the minimal channel width of the devices larger than the largest particle diameter. Solvent exchange could be accomplished for particles.

Additional Information

© Copyright 2008 IEEE. Reprinted with permission. Manuscript received August 5, 2007; revised February 8, 2008. First published July 18, 2008; last published August 1, 2008 (projected). This work was supported by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute through NASA NCC 9–58. Subject Editor A. Lee. The authors would like to thank all of the members of the Caltech Micromachining Group for their valuable assistance. Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.

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