Article: Gleghorn JP, Smith JP, Kirby BJ, (2013) Transport and Collision Dynamics in Periodic Asymmetric Obstacle Arrays: Rational design of microfluidic rare-cell immunocapture devices. Physical Review E, 88 (3)
Abstract: Microfluidic obstacle arrays have been used in numerous applications, and their ability to sort particles or capture rare cells from complex samples has broad and impactful applications in biology and medicine. We have investigated the transport and collision dynamics of particles in periodic obstacle arrays to guide the design of convective, rather than diffusive, transport-based immunocapture microdevices. Ballistic and full computational fluid dynamics simulations are used to understand the collision modes that evolve in cylindrical obstacle arrays with various geometries. We identify previously unrecognized collision mode structures and differential size-based collision frequencies that emerge from these arrays. Previous descriptions of transverse displacements that assume unidirectional flow in these obstacle arrays cannot capture mode transitions properly as these descriptions fail to capture the dependence of the mode transitions on column spacing and the attendant change in the flow field. Using these analytical and computational simulations, we elucidate design parameters that induce high collision rates for all particles larger than a threshold size or selectively increase collision frequencies for a narrow range of particle sizes within a polydisperse population. Furthermore, we investigate how the particle Peclet number affects collision dynamics and mode transitions and demonstrate that experimental observations from various obstacle array geometries are well described by our computational model.