July 30, 2007 — To assist the development of a miniaturized dielectrophoresis-based system for particle and cell sorting, CFD Research Corp. is using a custom flowcell devised by ALine. CFD is developing the system under a Phase 1 SBIR contract for biodefense and homeland security applications requiring intelligent discrimination of target particles from a complex liquid matrix.
Laminar flow and the movement of particles/cells in response to an electric field is important for such systems, which require the use of micron-sized flow channels with very small (10 – 50 microns) electrode gaps. To achieve CFD’s performance requirements, ALine used a laminate fabrication approach to design a simple flowcell that allowed the transparent, patterned ITO on glass electrodes to be aligned and bonded directly to the top and bottom of the flow channel. The laser-patterned electrodes have features separated by 40 microns (a minimum feature size of 10 microns is possible; the patterning process requires no tooling). Because the ITO on glass patterned electrodes are bonded to the flowcell with a PSA, they can be removed and re-used in a new set of flowcells.
ALine says its laminate fabrication approach — and the ability to incorporate complex patterned circuits and electrodes, heaters, valves, and porous membranes — offers life science researchers and product developers a valuable tool box for the realization of novel bio micro fluidic products.