Research in Engineering and Aviation

Spiral Inertial Microfluidic Devices For Continuous Blood Cell Separation

January 2012

Author(s): N. Nivedita, P. M. Ligrani, and I. Papautsky

Journal: Invited Paper, Paper Number 8251-26, MOEMS-MEMS Conference on Micro- and Nano-Fabricated Electromechanical and Optical Components, SPIE – International Society for Optics and Photonics, San Francico, California, USA, January 21-26, 2012.


Enrichment and separation of cell components of blood is critical to clinical diagnostics and therapeutics. Here we report on spiral inertial microfluidic devices which achieve continuous size-based separation of cell mixtures with high throughput. These devices rely on hydrodynamic forces acting on cells within laminar flow, coupled with Dean instability-induced drag arising from the spiral microchannel geometry, to focus cells in streams near the inner channel wall. The spiral devices were optimized to achieve cell separation in less than 8 cm. These improved devices represent an important development because they are not only small in size (<1 in2), but exhibit high separation efficiency (~90%) and high throughput rates up to 1 million cells per minute. These device concepts offer a path towards possible development of a lab-on-chip for blood analysis and reagent free sample preparation, illustrated by the present results, which successfully demonstrate separation of erythrocytes from leukocytes with whole blood.

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