Acoustofluidic centrifuge for nanoparticle enrichment and separation

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Science Advances  01 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 1, eabc0467
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc0467


Liquid droplets have been studied for decades and have recently experienced renewed attention as a simplified model for numerous fascinating physical phenomena occurring on size scales from the cell nucleus to stellar black holes. Here, we present an acoustofluidic centrifugation technique that leverages an entanglement of acoustic wave actuation and the spin of a fluidic droplet to enable nanoparticle enrichment and separation. By combining acoustic streaming and droplet spinning, rapid (<1 min) nanoparticle concentration and size-based separation are achieved with a resolution sufficient to identify and isolate exosome subpopulations. The underlying physical mechanisms have been characterized both numerically and experimentally, and the ability to process biological samples (including DNA segments and exosome subpopulations) has been successfully demonstrated. Together, this acoustofluidic centrifuge overcomes existing limitations in the manipulation of nanoscale (<100 nm) bioparticles and can be valuable for various applications in the fields of biology, chemistry, engineering, material science, and medicine.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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