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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 2564584, 8 pages
Research Article

A Numerical Simulation of Cell Separation by Simplified Asymmetric Pinched Flow Fractionation

1School of Life Science, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
2School of Engineering and Information Technology, University of New South Wales, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia
3Key Laboratory of Convergence Medical Engineering System and Healthcare Technology, The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China

Received 15 April 2016; Accepted 11 July 2016

Academic Editor: Yi Sui

Copyright © 2016 Jing-Tao Ma et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


As a typical microfluidic cell sorting technique, the size-dependent cell sorting has attracted much interest in recent years. In this paper, a size-dependent cell sorting scheme is presented based on a controllable asymmetric pinched flow by employing an immersed boundary-lattice Boltzmann method (IB-LBM). The geometry of channels consists of 2 upstream branches, 1 transitional channel, and 4 downstream branches (D-branches). Simulations are conducted by varying inlet flow ratio, the cell size, and the ratio of flux of outlet 4 to the total flux. It is found that, after being randomly released in one upstream branch, the cells are aligned in a line close to one sidewall of the transitional channel due to the hydrodynamic forces of the asymmetric pinched flow. Cells with different sizes can be fed into different downstream D-branches just by regulating the flux of one D-branch. A principle governing D-branch choice of a cell is obtained, with which a series of numerical cases are performed to sort the cell mixture involving two, three, or four classes of diameters. Results show that, for each case, an adaptive regulating flux can be determined to sort the cell mixture effectively.