Selection of particles or cells of specific shapes from a complex mixture is an essential procedure for various biological and industrial applications, including synchronization of the cell cycle, classification of environmental bacteria, and elimination of aggregates from synthesized particles. Here, we investigate the separation behaviors of nonspherical and spherical particles∕cells in the hydrodynamic filtration (HDF) scheme, which was previously developed for continuous size-dependent particle∕cell separation. Nonspherical particle models were prepared by coating the hemisphere of spherical polymer particles with a thin Au layer and by bonding the Janus particles to form twins and triplets resembling dividing and aggregating cells, respectively. High-speed imaging revealed a difference in the separation behaviors of spherical and nonspherical particles at a branch point; nonspherical particles showed rotation behavior and did not enter the branch channel even when their minor axis was smaller than the virtual width of the flow region entering the branch channel, w1. The confocal-laser high-speed particle intensity velocimetry system visualized the flow profile inside the HDF microchannel, demonstrating that the steep flow-velocity distribution at the branch point is the main factor causing the rotation behavior of nonspherical particles. As applications, we successfully separated spherical and nonspherical particles with various major∕minor lengths and also demonstrated the selection of budding∕single cells from a yeast cell mixture. We therefore conclude that the HDF scheme can be used for continuous shape-based particle∕cell separation
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