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Molecules 2016, 21(6), 778;

Comparison of Chip Inlet Geometry in Microfluidic Devices for Cell Studies

Department of Physics, Fu-Jen Catholic University, New Taipei City 24205, Taiwan
Academic Editors: Fan-Gang Tseng and Tuhin Subhra Santra
Received: 11 May 2016 / Revised: 8 June 2016 / Accepted: 12 June 2016 / Published: 15 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Fluidics and Bio-MEMS)
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Micro-fabricated devices integrated with fluidic components provide an in vitro platform for cell studies best mimicking the in vivo micro-environment. These devices are capable of creating precise and controllable surroundings of pH value, temperature, salt concentration, and other physical or chemical stimuli. Various cell studies such as chemotaxis and electrotaxis can be performed by using such devices. Moreover, microfluidic chips are designed and fabricated for applications in cell separations such as circulating tumor cell (CTC) chips. Usually, there are two most commonly used inlets in connecting the microfluidic chip to sample/reagent loading tubes: the vertical (top-loading) inlet and the parallel (in-line) inlet. Designing this macro-to-micro interface is believed to play an important role in device performance. In this study, by using the commercial COMSOL Multiphysics software, we compared the cell capture behavior in microfluidic devices with different inlet types and sample flow velocities. Three different inlets were constructed: the vertical inlet, the parallel inlet, and the vertically parallel inlet. We investigated the velocity field, the flow streamline, the cell capture rate, and the laminar shear stress in these inlets. It was concluded that the inlet should be designed depending on the experimental purpose, i.e., one wants to maximize or minimize cell capture. Also, although increasing the flow velocity could reduce cell sedimentation, too high shear stresses are thought harmful to cells. Our findings indicate that the inlet design and flow velocity are crucial and should be well considered in fabricating microfluidic devices for cell studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: microfluidic chip; inlet geometry; cell separation; cell capture; fluidic shear stress microfluidic chip; inlet geometry; cell separation; cell capture; fluidic shear stress

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Sun, Y.-S. Comparison of Chip Inlet Geometry in Microfluidic Devices for Cell Studies. Molecules 2016, 21, 778.

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