The Separation of Microalgae Using Dean Flow in a Spiral Microfluidic Device
Received: 15 May 2018 / Revised: 16 June 2018 / Accepted: 18 June 2018 / Published: 21 June 2018
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A cell-in-droplet encapsulation using Dean flow in a spiral microfluidic device was applied to separate microalgae. In recent years, researchers have been interested in separating micro particles using microfluidic chips because of its great advantages in relation to various applications such as in
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A cell-in-droplet encapsulation using Dean flow in a spiral microfluidic device was applied to separate microalgae. In recent years, researchers have been interested in separating micro particles using microfluidic chips because of its great advantages in relation to various applications such as in biotechnology, medical examination, and cell studies. The main disadvantage of these microfluidic chips is particle clogging that decreases the separation yield, which then creates difficulties during the investigation of the particles. The microfluidic chip that is introduced in this work is a combination of two distinct designs—a spiral microchannel design to separate microalgae of various sizes, and a microdroplet generation design for cell encapsulation. The yield of the separation is enhanced through the concept of dominant forces (Dean drag force and lift force) in a spiral microchannel design, together with a design of the microdroplet generation that narrows the volume to facilitate cell observation. We report the development of cells, particle separation, and microdroplet generation. Using the spiral microchannel design can solve the clogging problem by distributing the microalgae evenly for the microdroplet generation section. A spiral microfluidics design was used as a separator for the different sized particles and a microdroplets generation design was used to encapsulate the separated particles. As for the design for the microdroplets generation section, a 3-way microchannel was designed. In this research, two kinds of microalgae have been used: the smaller one is chlorella vulgaris and the bigger one is cosmarium. Because of all of these benefits, this device might be an alternative for cell applications using droplet-based platforms. With a different channel height design, the separation efficiency for Chlorella vulgaris is about 75–80% and for Cosmarium is about 60–72%.