Abstract

Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs), which migrate from original sites in a body to distant organs through blood, are a key factor in cancer detection. Emerging Label-free techniques owing to their inherent advantage to preserve characteristics of sorted cells and low consumption of samples can be promising to the prediction of cancer progression and metastasis research. Deterministic Lateral Displacement (DLD) is one of the label-free separation techniques employing a specific arrangement of micro-posts for continuous separation of suspended cells in a buffer based on the size of cells. Separation based solely on size is challenging since the size distributions of CTCs might overlap with those of normal blood cells. To address this problem, DLD can be combined with dielectrophoresis (DEP) technique which is the phenomenon of particle movement in a non-uniform electric field owing to the polarization effect. Although, DLD devices employ the laminar flow in low Reynolds number (Re) fluid flow due to predictability of such flow regimes, they should be improved to work in higher Re flow regime so as to attain high throughput devices. In this paper, a particle tracing simulation is developed to study the effects of different post shapes, shift fraction of micropost arrays, and dielectrophoresis forces on separation of CTCs from peripheral blood cells. Our numerical model and results provide a groundwork for design and fabrication of high-throughput DLD-DEP devices for improvement of CTC separation.

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