Active Control of Inertial Focusing Positions and Particle Separations Enabled by Velocity Profile Tuning with Coflow Systems

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Inertial microfluidics has drawn much attention not only for its diverse applications but also for counterintuitive new fluid dynamic behaviors. Inertial focusing positions are determined by two lift forces, that is, shear gradient and wall-induced lift forces, that are generally known to be opposite in direction in the flow through a channel. However, the direction of shear gradient lift force can be reversed if velocity profiles are shaped properly. We used coflows of two liquids with different viscosities to produce complex velocity profiles that lead to inflection point focusing and alteration of inertial focusing positions; the number and the locations of focusing positions could be actively controlled by locations of focusing positions could be actively controlled by tuning flow rates and viscosities of the liquids. Interestingly, 3-inlet coflow systems showed focusing mode switching between inflection 100 point focusing and channel face focusing depending on Reynolds number and particle size. The focusing mode switching occurred at a specific size threshold, which was easily adjustable with the viscosity ratio of the coflows. This property led to different-sized particles focusing at completely different focusing positions and resulted in highly efficient particle separation of which the separation threshold was tunable. Passive separation techniques, including inertial microfluidics, generally have a limitation in the control of separation parameters. Coflow systems can provide a simple and versatile platform for active tuning of velocity profiles and subsequent inertial focusing characteristics, which was demonstrated by active control of the focusing mode using viscosity ratio tuning and temperature changes of the coflows.
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ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY, v.90, no.4, pp.2902 - 2911

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NT-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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