A Radial Pillar Device (RAPID) for continuous and high-throughput separation of multi-sized particles
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Pillar-based microfluidic sorting devices are preferred for isolation of rare cells due to their simple designs and passive operation. Dead-end pillar filters can efficiently capture large rare cells, such as, circulating tumor cells (CTCs), nucleated red blood cells (NRBCs), CD4 cells in HIV patients, etc., but they get clogged easily. Cross flow filters are preferred for smaller rare particles (e.g. separating bacteria from blood), but they need additional buffer inlets and a large device footprint for efficient operation. We have designed a new microparticle separation device i.e. Ra dial Pi llar D evice (RAPID) that combines the advantages of dead-end and cross flow filters. RAPID can simultaneously isolate both large and small rare particles from a mixed population, while functioning for several hours without clogging. We have achieved simultaneous separation of 10 μ m and 2 μ m polystyrene particles from a mixture of 2 μ m, 7 μ m and 10 μ m particles. RAPID achieved average separation purity and recovery in excess of ∼90%. The throughput of our device (∼3ml/min) is 10 and 100 times higher compared to cross flow and dead-end filters respectively, thereby justifying the name RAPID.
KeywordsParticle sorting Passive separation High throughput Clog-free operation
The authors would like to acknowledge the Centre for Nanoelectronics (phase 2) in IIT Bombay for partial funding and Dr. Dhrubaditya Mitra (NORDITA, Stockholm) for helpful discussions. They also thank Milan Khadiya for his help in particle counting. The devices have been fabricated in the cleanroom of the IIT Bombay Nanofabrication Facility.
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