Multifunctional piezo- and image-based microfluidic sorting
in: Analytical Chemistry (2019)
This paper reports on an image-based droplet and cell sorting system, implemented in a modular design. This new approach implements the actor as an integrated part of the control system which is physically separated from the sorting chip. It contains piezo actors and flexure hinges to transfer the piezo-generated stroke to a monolithically integrated chip membrane. The microfluidic sorting process itself is based on defined unidirectional fluid pulses generated by these two reverse driven piezo-actuated membranes. Compared to conventional setups, our sorting concept offers a high level of flexibility for bio particle and droplet sorting. This is achieved by a highly customizable and flexible microfluidic sorting system with exchangeable, low-cost, microfluidic, disposable chips for particular sorting tasks. These standardized chip systems allow sorting within a wide range of object sizes from 6 µm to more than 300 µm for droplets in different operating regimes, particles or cells. Combined with in-line image-based object analysis, our new sorting approach offers a wide range of applications. This small and compact actor system allows a future transfer to make particle sorting available as a standard task in the daily lab practice. Its high flexibility and multifunctionality combined with standardized components can also be a step forward to overcome barriers to transfer microfluidic sorting systems to commercial applications.