Vector separation of particles and cells using an array of slanted open cavities

Jorge A. Bernate, Chengxun Liu, Liesbet Lagae, Konstantinos Konstantopoulos, German Drazer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We present a microfluidic platform for the continuous separation of suspended particles based on their size and settling velocity. The separation method takes advantage of the flow field in the vicinity and inside slanted open cavities. These cavities induce flow along them, which deflects the suspended particles to a different degree depending on the extent to which they penetrate into the cavities. The cumulative deflection in the periodic array ultimately leads to vector chromatography, with the different species in the sample moving in different directions. We demonstrate density and size based separation over a range of flow rates by separating polystyrene and silica particles and show that purities nearing 100% can be achieved for multicomponent mixtures. We also demonstrate the potential of the platform to separate biological cells by fractionating different blood components. We discuss the presence of two regimes, depending on the ratio between the settling velocity and the velocity of the particles across the open cavities. The proposed platform could also integrate additional separative force fields in the direction normal to the plane of the cavities to fractionate specific mixtures based on the distinguishing properties of the component species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1086-1092
Number of pages7
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 21 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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