Label-free density difference amplification-based cell sorting

Jihwan Song, Minsun Song, Taewook Kang, Dongchoul Kim, Luke P. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The selective cell separation is a critical step in fundamental life sciences, translational medicine, biotechnology, and energy harvesting. Conventional cell separation methods are fluorescent activated cell sorting and magnetic-activated cell sorting based on fluorescent probes and magnetic particles on cell surfaces. Label-free cell separation methods such as Raman-activated cell sorting, electro-physiologically activated cell sorting, dielectric-activated cell sorting, or inertial microfluidic cell sorting are, however, limited when separating cells of the same kind or cells with similar sizes and dielectric properties, as well as similar electrophysiological phenotypes. Here we report a label-free density difference amplification-based cell sorting (dDACS) without using any external optical, magnetic, electrical forces, or fluidic activations. The conceptual microfluidic design consists of an inlet, hydraulic jump cavity, and multiple outlets. Incoming particles experience gravity, buoyancy, and drag forces in the separation chamber. The height and distance that each particle can reach in the chamber are different and depend on its density, thus allowing for the separation of particles into multiple outlets. The separation behavior of the particles, based on the ratio of the channel heights of the inlet and chamber and Reynolds number has been systematically studied. Numerical simulation reveals that the difference between the heights of only lighter particles with densities close to that of water increases with increasing the ratio of the channel heights, while decreasing Reynolds number can amplify the difference in the heights between the particles considered irrespective of their densities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number064108
Issue number6
StatePublished - 26 Nov 2014

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