Free flow acoustophoresis: Microfluidic-based mode of particle and cell separation

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Abstract

A novel method, free flow acoustophoresis (FFA), capable of continuous separation of mixed particle suspensions into multiple outlet fractions is presented. Acoustic forces are utilized to separate particles based on their size and density. The method is shown to be suitable for both biological and nonbiological suspended particles. The microfluidic separation chips were fabricated using conventional microfabrication methods. Particle separation was accomplished by combining laminar flow with the axial acoustic primary radiation force in an ultrasonic standing wave field. Dissimilar suspended particles flowing through the 350-mu m-wide channel were thereby laterally translated to different regions of the laminar flow profile, which was split into multiple outlets for continuous fraction collection. Using four outlets, a mixture of 2-, 5-, 8-, and 10-mu m polystyrene particles was separated with between 62 and 94% of each particle size ending up in separate fractions. Using three outlets and three particle sizes (3, 7, and 10 mu m) the corresponding results ranged between 76 and 96%. It was also proven possible to separate normally acoustically inseparable particle types by manipulating the density of the suspending medium with cesium chloride. The medium manipulation, in combination with FFA, was further used to enable the fractionation of red cells, platelets, and leukocytes. The results show that free flow acoustophoresis can be used to perform complex separation tasks, thereby offering an alternative to expensive and time-consuming methods currently in use.

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  • Analytical Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5117-5123
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Volume79
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes