In this work, we designed and fabricated a three-dimensional hydrodynamic focusing microfluidic device. The device comprises a two-layer PDMS microchannel structure. There are four inlet ports and one outlet port. The fluids are all injected by syringe pumps. A sample flow stream was first vertically constrained into a narrow stream, and then horizontally focused on one small core region from a cross-section perspective, which is useful for cell/particle counting. We showed the numerical and experimental images of the focused stream shape from a cross-section perspective; experimental images were captured using a confocal fluorescence microscope. We also investigated the effect of channel aspect ratio on the vertical focusing effect using CFD simulations. The results showed that the sample flow can be focused successfully in the lower aspect ratio of the main channel (slightly greater than 0.5) in our design. Furthermore, the effect of the Reynolds number on the vertical focusing effect was also investigated. The numerical results showed that the rectangular-like shape of the focused stream from the cross-section perspective was deformed as the Reynolds number was high due to stronger secondary flows produced in the vertical focusing unit. This phenomenon was also demonstrated experimentally. The device only works well at low Reynolds numbers (approximately less than 5). The device can be integrated into an on-chip flow cytometer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering