Dielectrophoretic separation of platelets from diluted whole blood in microfluidic channels



The dielectrophoresis (DEP) phenomenon is used to separate platelets directly from diluted whole blood in microfluidic channels. By exploiting the fact that platelets are the smallest cell type in blood, we utilize the DEP-activated cell sorter (DACS) device to perform size-based fractionation of blood samples and continuously enrich the platelets in a label-free manner. Cytometry analysis revealed that a single pass through the two-stage DACS device yields a high purity of platelets (∼95%) at a throughput of ∼2.2×104 cells/second/microchannel with minimal platelet activation. This work demonstrates gentle and label-free dielectrophoretic separation of delicate cells from complex samples and such a separation approach may open a path toward continuous screening of blood products by integrated microfluidic devices.