High-speed microparticle isolation unlimited by Poisson statistics

Takanori Iino, Kazunori Okano, Sang Wook Lee, Takeshi Yamakawa, Hiroki Hagihara, Zhen Yi Hong, Takanori Maeno, Yusuke Kasai, Shinya Sakuma, Takeshi Hayakawa, Fumihito Arai, Yasuyuki Ozeki, Keisuke Goda, Yoichiroh Hosokawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


High-speed isolation of microparticles (e.g., microplastics, heavy metal particles, microbes, cells) from heterogeneous populations is the key element of high-throughput sorting instruments for chemical, biological, industrial and medical applications. Unfortunately, the performance of continuous microparticle isolation or so-called sorting is fundamentally limited by the trade-off between throughput, purity, and yield. For example, at a given throughput, high-purity sorting needs to sacrifice yield, or vice versa. This is due to Poisson statistics of events (i.e., microparticles, microparticle clusters, microparticle debris) in which the interval between successive events is stochastic and can be very short. Here we demonstrate an on-chip microparticle sorter with an ultrashort switching window in both time (10 μs) and space (10 μm) at a high flow speed of 1 m s-1, thereby overcoming the Poisson trade-off. This is made possible by using femtosecond laser pulses that can produce highly localized transient cavitation bubbles in a microchannel to kick target microparticles from an acoustically focused, densely aligned, bumper-to-bumper stream of microparticles. Our method is important for rare-microparticle sorting applications where both high purity and high yield are required to avoid missing rare microparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2669-2677
Number of pages9
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 21 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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