In the field of life sciences, the monitoring of biological samples has become a great concern to control the ecosystem evolution. However, their characterization is often time-consuming because the typical size of the organisms/particles of interest is several orders of magnitude smaller than the size of the sample under observation. Optical visualization systems require, then, high magnifications that severely limit the depth of focus and consequently decrease the sampling rate. To tackle this issue, the most straightforward technique consists in focusing the samples to fit the observation field of view by means of so-called "sheath flows". This expedient allows for increasing the overall flow rate, inversely related to the sampling time. In this article, a cost-effective 3D hydro-focusing device is presented. Several flow rates have been tested for both sample and sheath flows, and a thorough investigation of the shape of the focused streamlines conducted in order to validate the prototype design. The 3D position of the sampled micro-objects has been located by digital holographic microscopy and their distribution in cross-sections downstream the injection nozzle compared to numerical simulations. A maximum constriction—ratio between the part of the cross-sections where particles are present with and without focusing sheath flow—of 4.4 % has been observed confirming the potentiality of the technique. Also, a successful match between experiment and numerical simulation has been noted.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 22, 2014
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