Continuous scalable blood filtration device using inertial microfluidics

Biotechnol Bioeng. 2010 Oct 1;107(2):302-11. doi: 10.1002/bit.22833.


Cell separation is broadly useful for applications in clinical diagnostics, biological research, and potentially regenerative medicine. Recent attention has been paid to label-free size-based techniques that may avoid the costs or clogging issues associated with centrifugation and mechanical filtration. We present for the first time a massively parallel microfluidic device that passively separates pathogenic bacteria cells from diluted blood with macroscale performance. The device was designed to process large sample volumes in a high-throughput, continuous manner using 40 single microchannels placed in a radial array with one inlet and two rings of outlets. Each single channel consists of a short focusing, gradual expansion and collection region and uses unique differential transit times due to size-dependent inertial lift forces as a method of cell separation. The gradual channel expansion region is shown to manipulate cell equilibrium positions close to the microchannel walls, critical for higher efficiency collection. We demonstrate >80% removal of pathogenic bacteria from blood after two passes of the single channel system. The massively parallel device can process 240 mL/h with a throughput of 400 million cells/min. We expect that this parallelizable, robust, and label-free approach would be useful for filtration of blood as well as for other cell separation and concentration applications from large volume samples.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Blood*
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Equipment and Supplies*
  • Filtration / methods*
  • Microfluidics / methods*