Indexed on: 22 Jul '17Published on: 22 Jul '17Published in: Medical Engineering & Physics
Biomedical applications often require to sort cells according to their physical properties, such as size, density or deformability. In recent years, microfluidics has provided a variety of tools to sort micro-objects. We present here a simple microfluidic device consisting of a channel containing a semi-cylindrical obstacle against which capsules are squeezed by the flow, followed by a diverging chamber where streamlines separate. We demonstrate that this basic system is capable of sorting elastic microcapsules according to their size at low flow strength, and according to the stiffness of their membrane at high flow strength. Contrary to most existing sorting devices, we show that the present one is very sensitive and capable of discriminating between capsules with differences in membrane elasticity of order unity.