FFATA: Multi-Frequency Multi-Parametric Acoustophoretic Microfluidic System for Particle and Cell Separation-
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PI: Kim, Yong-Joe Institution: Texas A&M University Intellectural Merit: The objectives of this project are (1) to develop novel, transformative, two- and three-dimensional numerical modeling methods to analyze acoustophoretic separation of particles and cells in microfluidic systems under multi-frequency acoustic excitations, and (2) to develop an acoustophoretic microfluidic platform for separating particles and cells having different vibro-acoustic properties and validating the numerical models experimentally. Compressibility is an interesting physical property that can be utilized in label-free separation; however, systems capable of continuous and simultaneous label-free separation of particles and cells based on both their sizes and compressibility at high throughput do not exist. Acoustophoresis-based microfluidic separation utilizes intrinsic differences in vibro-acoustic properties of target samples under acoustic excitations, and can be achieved using simple microfluidic systems without need for cumbersome sample preparation steps. Thus, this approach has gained significant interest as the most viable label-free separation method in terms of its strong force generation, high throughput, high specificity, and low capital and operation cost. However, the design of state-of-the-art acoustophoretic microfluidic systems has been mainly derived from a simplistic one-dimensional analytical acoustic model in a "static" fluid medium. Therefore, it is not possible to consider the real-world effects of two- or three-dimensional geometries, "moving" fluid media, and viscous boundary layers that significantly influence the motion of particles and cells. In this analytical model, particles or cells are also modeled as homogenous, compressible spheres to consider only their "static" physical characteristics, and their frequency-dependent vibro-acoustic characteristics cannot be analyzed. The proposed methods address these deficiencies to significantly improve the predictability and specificity of the acoustophoretic separation. Novel particle and cell models are also proposed to understand their frequency-dependent, vibro-acoustic characteristics. Broader Impact: A transformative, multi-frequency, multi-parametric, acoustophoretic microfluidic platform enabled by these new modeling capabilities and utilizing the frequency-dependent vibro-acoustic properties will allow simultaneous fractionation of complex samples. This project will provide undergraduate and graduate students an excellent interdisciplinary research opportunity combining acoustics, microfluidics, lab-on-a-chip, biology, and computational physics. In particular, this work will (1) provide research opportunities and training for highly motivated undergraduate students and underrepresented minorities, and (2) expand the formal classroom curriculum in mechanical and electrical engineering to include learning objectives in microfluidic lab-chip systems and acoustophoretic separation. The results of the proposed research will be disseminated through peer-reviewed journal publications and presentations at professional conferences and used to enrich teaching materials for undergraduate and graduate courses. A publicly-available, acoustophoretic modeling method as proposed here will significantly advance the design of acoustophoretic separation systems by enabling "virtual reality" prototyping.