• Cascade cell sorter;
  • Cell sorter;
  • Dielectrophoresis;
  • Microfluidics;
  • Staggered cell sorter


We have developed two new microfluidic cell sorters based on conventional negative dielectrophoresis (DEP) for continuous flow operations. The first is a cascade configuration sorter designed to increase purity of isolated target cell. The second has two staggered side channels in opposite side walls to increase sample throughput without compromising enrichment factor. Particles (carboxylate microspheres) of different sizes were first used to demonstrate the feasibility of the present DEP sorters for cell isolation. Then biological cells, i.e. human prostate cancer cell line LNCaP and human colorectal cancer cell line HCT116 were used to test the performance of the DEP sorters. In the present work, applied voltage was in the range of 0–20 Vp-p, and frequency was from 0 to 10 MHz. Comparing to a single side channel DEP cell sorter, the isolation purity was improved from 80 to 96% by a single cascade sorter and the sample throughput was increased from 0.2 to 0.65 μL/min by a single staggered side channel sorter. In this article, we report the cell sorter designs, cell separation and enrichment factors.