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See detailCross-sectional focusing of red blood cells in a constricted microfluidic channel
Abay, Asena; Recktenwald, Steffen M.; John, Thomas et al

in SOFT MATTER (2020), 16(2), 534-543

Constrictions in blood vessels and microfluidic devices can dramatically change the spatial distribution of passing cells or particles and are commonly used in biomedical cell sorting applications ... [more ▼]

Constrictions in blood vessels and microfluidic devices can dramatically change the spatial distribution of passing cells or particles and are commonly used in biomedical cell sorting applications. However, the three-dimensional nature of cell focusing in the channel cross-section remains poorly investigated. Here, we explore the cross-sectional distribution of living and rigid red blood cells passing a constricted microfluidic channel by tracking individual cells in multiple layers across the channel depth and across the channel width. While cells are homogeneously distributed in the channel cross-section pre-contraction, we observe a strong geometry-induced focusing towards the four channel faces post-contraction. The magnitude of this cross-sectional focusing effect increases with increasing Reynolds number for both living and rigid red blood cells. We discuss how this non-uniform cell distribution downstream of the contraction results in an apparent double-peaked velocity profile in particle image velocimetry analysis and show that trapping of red blood cells in the recirculation zones of the abrupt construction depends on cell deformability. [less ▲]

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