editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Sorting Cells

Lens-free technology has poked its head up in a few places, but one of the more frequent views you may have of it is an application that Imec appears particularly fond of: a cell sorter.

The whole idea behind the contraption is to isolate abnormal blood cells from a sample. So they built a microfluidic device that delivers a flow of blood cells. Each cell passes over a lens-free aperture where a lens-free camera analyzes the interference patterns that the cell creates. That creates a differentiating signal between normal and abnormal cells.

The processing of that signature happens quickly enough that, at the point where the cell has traveled further to a microfluidic crossroads, normal cells can be steered down one channel; abnormal cells down another.

How do you “steer” a cell? Well, the default flow goes one way, and when a faulty cell is detected, at the time it hits the junction, a small heater creates an instantaneous bubble that pushes the cell into the other channel. (You could also actively steer the normal cells with a counter-bubble as well.)

In case that seems like a lot of work, well, it is. They say that they process 20 million images a second.

As I mentioned, they appear particularly proud of this, because it’s presented at numerous different venues, and they’ve invested in marvelous animation to illustrate what’s going on. So if you find yourself at an Imec function, you may also get to see the images. But, to be sure, it’s more than animation. When visiting their facility, this was one of the places they took us where they stood by like proud papas as we took a look at the real deals.

One of the challenges with building something like this is finding an adhesive that is compatible with being a microfluid channel, especially when there may be heaters and such in the device. Such an adhesive would be used to secure a glass cap.

Imec and JSR announced such a material last month. The adhesive can be patterned using normal photolithography, allowing this step to be performed on entire wafers. The picture below shows a cell sorter wafer with glass covers glued to the intact microfluidic dice, which contain those micro-heaters for steering the cells. With glass covers in place, the wafer can be diced up into individual cell sorters.

You can read more about this material in their announcement.JSR_wafer_red.png

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jan 21, 2022
Here are a few teasers for what you'll find in this week's round-up of CFD news and notes. How AI can be trained to identify more objects than are in its learning dataset. Will GPUs really... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community si...
Jan 20, 2022
High performance computing continues to expand & evolve; our team shares their 2022 HPC predictions including new HPC applications and processor architectures. The post The Future of High-Performance Computing (HPC): Key Predictions for 2022 appeared first on From Silico...
Jan 20, 2022
As Josh Wardle famously said about his creation: "It's not trying to do anything shady with your data or your eyeballs ... It's just a game that's fun.'...

featured video

AI SoC Chats: Understanding Compute Needs for AI SoCs

Sponsored by Synopsys

Will your next system require high performance AI? Learn what the latest systems are using for computation, including AI math, floating point and dot product hardware, and processor IP.

Click here for more information about DesignWare IP for Amazing AI

featured paper

Enhancing PSAP Audio Performance and Power Efficiency in Hearables with Anti-Noise

Sponsored by Analog Devices

PSAP enhances user's listening experiences with hearables in challenging environments. Long delay in the audio system creates distortion known as comb effect in PSAP. This paper investigates the root cause of the comb effect and explains how a new anti-noise device yields a superior system performance compared to conventional PSAP solutions.

Click here to read more

featured chalk talk

High Voltage Charging Solution for Energy Storage & Backup Systems

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Analog Devices

Today there is growing demand for energy storage with more power, longer range, and longer run time. But the question remains: how can we increase our energy storage given the energy storage mediums on the market today? In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Anthony Huyhn from Analog Devices about the benefits of high voltage energy storage, why stacked battery cells are crucial to these kinds of systems, how high voltage energy storage systems can reduce conduction loss exponentially and what kind of high voltage charging solutions from Analog Devices are on the market today.

Click here for more information about the Maxim Integrated MAX17703 Li-Ion Battery Charger Controller