Hydrodynamic assisted multiparametric particle spectrometry

Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 11;11(1):3535. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-82708-0.


The real-time analysis of single analytes in flow is becoming increasingly relevant in cell biology. In this work, we theoretically predict and experimentally demonstrate hydrodynamic focusing with hollow nanomechanical resonators by using an interferometric system which allows the optical probing of flowing particles and tracking of the fundamental mechanical mode of the resonator. We have characterized the hydrodynamic forces acting on the particles, which will determine their velocity depending on their diameter. By using the parameters simultaneously acquired: frequency shift, velocity and reflectivity, we can unambiguously classify flowing particles in real-time, allowing the measurement of the mass density: 1.35 ± 0.07 g·mL-1 for PMMA and 1.7 ± 0.2 g·mL-1 for silica particles, which perfectly agrees with the nominal values. Once we have tested our technique, MCF-7 human breast adenocarcinoma cells are characterized (1.11 ± 0.08 g·mL-1) with high throughput (300 cells/minute) observing a dependency with their size, opening the door for individual cell cycle studies.