Inertial microfluidics has been a highly active area of research in recent years for high-throughput focusing and sorting of synthetic and biological microparticles. However, existing inertial microfluidic devices always rely on microchannels with high-aspect-ratio geometries (channel width w <channel height h) and small cross-sections (w * h <50 * 100 µm2). Such deep and small structures increase fabrication difficulty and can limit manufacturing by large-scale and high-throughput production approaches such as roll-to-roll (R2R) hot embossing. In this work, we present a novel inertial microfluidic device using only a simple and low-aspect-ratio (LAR) straight microchannel (w > h) to achieve size-based sorting of microparticles and cells. The simple LAR geometry of the device enables successful high-throughput fabrication using R2R hot embossing. With optimized flow conditions and channel dimensions, we demonstrate continuous sorting of a mixture of 15 µm and 10 µm diameter microbeads with >97% sorting efficiency using the low-cost and disposable R2R chip. We further demonstrate size-based sorting of bovine white blood cells, demonstrating the ability to process real cellular samples in our R2R chip. We envision that this R2R hot-embossed inertial microfluidic chip will serve as a powerful yet low-cost and disposable tool for size-based sorting of synthetic microparticles in industrial applications or cellular samples in cell biology research and clinical diagnostics.
Wang, X., Liedert, C., Liedert, R., & Paputsky, I. (2016). A disposable, roll-to-roll hot-embossed inertial microfluidic device for size-based sorting of microbeads and cells. Lab on a Chip, 16(10), 1821-1830. https://doi.org/10.1039/C6LC00215C