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Investigation of viscoelastic focusing of particles and cells in a zigzag microchannel
Electrophoresis  (IF3.535),  Pub Date : 2021-08-15, DOI: 10.1002/elps.202100126
Dan Yuan, Sharda Yadav, Hang T. Ta, Hedieh Fallahi, Hongjie An, Navid Kashaninejad, Chin Hong Ooi, Nam-Trung Nguyen, Jun Zhang

Microfluidic particle focusing has been a vital prerequisite step in sample preparation for downstream particle separation, counting, detection, or analysis, and has attracted broad applications in biomedical and chemical areas. Besides all the active and passive focusing methods in Newtonian fluids, particle focusing in viscoelastic fluids has been attracting increasing interest because of its advantages induced by intrinsic fluid property. However, to achieve a well-defined focusing position, there is a need to extend channel lengths when focusing micrometer-sized or sub-microsized particles, which would result in the size increase of the microfluidic devices. This work investigated the sheathless viscoelastic focusing of particles and cells in a zigzag microfluidic channel. Benefit from the zigzag structure of the channel, the channel length and the footprint of the device can be reduced without sacrificing the focusing performance. In this work, the viscoelastic focusing, including the focusing of 10 μm polystyrene particles, 5 μm polystyrene particles, 5 μm magnetic particles, white blood cells (WBCs), red blood cells (RBCs), and cancer cells, were all demonstrated. Moreover, magnetophoretic separation of magnetic and nonmagnetic particles after viscoelastic pre-focusing was shown. This focusing technique has the potential to be used in a range of biomedical applications.