Flow cytometry is a popular technique for counting and sorting individual cells. This study presents and demonstrates a new cell counting/sorting system integrated with several essential components including a micromachined flow cytometer chip device, an optical detection system and a data analysis and control system to achieve the functions of cell sample injection, optical signal detection and cell collection. By using MEMS technology, we have integrated several microfluidic components such as micro pneumatic pumps/valves onto a polymer-based chip device. Three pneumatic micropumps are used to provide the hydrodynamic driving force for both sample and sheath flows such that hydrodynamic flow focusing can be achieved, and a micro flow switch device comprising three pneumatic microvalves located downstream of the micro sample flow channel is used for cell collection. Cell samples of human lung cancer cells labelled with commercially available fluorescent dyes have been detected and collected successfully utilizing the developed device. The real-time image of dye-labelled cell samples being excited and detected can be monitored and observed through the LCD panel by a custom designed CCD/APD holder and moving stage. Finally, micro flow switch devices were used to successfully sort the cells into the desired outlet channel, and the counting results of the specific cell samples were monitored through the counting panel. The current study focuses on the setup of the overall system. The proposed flow cytometer system has several advantages such as portability, low cost and easy operation process. The size of the system is 37 cm × 16 cm × 18 cm and the weight is 3.5 kg. The error rate of counting and sorting was 1.5% and 2%, respectively. The sorting frequency of the microvalve device is calculated to be 120 cells min-1. The developed microfluidic chip device could be a promising tool for cell-based application fields such as profiling, counting and sorting.
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