Applying an optical space-time coding method to enhance light scattering signals in microfluidic devices

Biomicrofluidics. 2011 Sep;5(3):34116-341166. doi: 10.1063/1.3624740. Epub 2011 Aug 16.


An "optical space-time coding method" was applied to microfluidic devices to detect the forward and large angle light scattering signals for unlabelled bead and cell detection. Because of the enhanced sensitivity by this method, silicon pin photoreceivers can be used to detect both forward scattering (FS) and large angle (45-60°) scattering (LAS) signals, the latter of which has been traditionally detected by a photomultiplier tube. This method yields significant improvements in coefficients of variation (CV), producing CVs of 3.95% to 10.05% for FS and 7.97% to 26.12% for LAS with 15 μm, 10 μm, and 5 μm beads. These are among the best values ever demonstrated with microfluidic devices. The optical space-time coding method also enables us to measure the speed and position of each particle, producing valuable information for the design and assessment of microfluidic lab-on-a-chip devices such as flow cytometers and complete blood count devices.