Dimensional analysis and parametric studies of the microwell for particle trapping

  • Richard Lee Lai
  • Nien-Tsu HuangEmail author
Short Communication


Recently, the microwell has been widely used for cell trapping due to its simple design and enclosed microenvironment for on-chip cell culture and stimulation. In this paper, we investigated the effect of various geometrical factors on microwells for efficient particle analysis. We used the Arbitrary Lagrangian–Eulerian method to calculate the trajectory of particles entering circular and triangular microwells under various geometrical factors, particle size, and flow conditions. Our simulation results show that the W/L = 2 triangular microwell provides the best trapping efficiency due to a stronger recirculation vortex. A smaller particle size or slower flow rate also enhances particle trapping efficiency. To validate simulation results, we flowed 4.5, 6, and 10 µm diameter polystyrene beads into W/L = 1 circular, W/L = 1 and W/L = 2 triangular microwells under various flow rates. The experimental results agreed well with simulation results, showing that the occupancy of W/L = 2 triangular microwell was sevenfold and twofold higher than W/L = 1 circular and W/L = 1 triangular microwells, respectively. Overall, the above results can provide a useful guideline to design the microwell device for efficient hydrodynamic particle trapping, which can be applied to single cell analysis or rare cell capture.


Microfluidics Microwells ALE algorithm Simulation Hydrodynamic trapping 



The authors would like to thank Mr. Zheng-Jie Liao and Mr. Ping-Fan Chen regarding wafer fabrication. This work was financially supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan under grant “MOST 106-2221-E-002-058-MY3” and the “Center for electronics technology integration (NTU-108L900502)’’ from The Featured Areas Research Center Program within the framework of the Higher Education Sprout Project by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Taiwan.

Author contributions

In this work, Mr. RLL designed the experiments, fabricated the microfluidic device, performed the experiment, data analysis, and wrote the manuscript; Prof. N-TH designed the experiments, performed data analysis, and wrote/reviewed/edited the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest. Also, the funding sponsors had no role in the design of the study, the collection, analyses or interpretation of data, nor in the writing of the manuscript and in the decision to publish the results.

Supplementary material

10404_2019_2289_MOESM1_ESM.docx (244 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 243 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Biomedical Electronics and BioinformaticsNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Electrical EngineeringNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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