Particle separation methods

The separation of sub-micron and micron-sized particles is the most highlighted research area in microfluidics regarding the increasing number of the research groups, scientific results and publications. The advancements in microfluidics enable sorting technologies that combine the benefits of continuous operation with small-sized scale suitable for manipulation and probing of individual particles or cells. Separation and sorting of microparticles in a continuous manner could be managed by using external forces (acoustophoresis, electrophoresis, magnetophoresis, applying mechanical forces and optophoresis) and varying the shape of the channel (hydrophoresis). The Biomicrofluidics Laboratory is focusing on hydrophoresis and acoustophoresis because these techniques are label-free, continuous and significantly effective.

Hydrophoresis is a technique whereby the velocity profile is defined by varying the geometry of the microfluidic channels, which is responsible for the manipulation (transport, separation and sorting) of the particles.

Acoustophoresis is ultrasound-based manipulation of microparticles in microfluidics, which has a huge advantage, such as, label-free separation based on purely mechanical properties (size, shape, density, and compressibility).

Particle recognition and classification is crucial for the verification of separation techniques. The real-time recognition, classification and counting of different objects (particles, cells or debris) require the usage of high-fps camera systems (Cellular Nonlinear Network based machines).