Sorting Technology

What is the sorting mechanism?

Air-over-liquid “Flow shift” method

On-chip Sort uses a small disposable microfluidic chip (with either 80 µm or 150 µm flow channel width) as the core of its technology. Sample and sheath fluid are loaded into the sample and sheath reservoirs on the chip, respectively. Unlike conventional cell sorters, which a specific sheath fluid has to be used, On-chip Sort allows for the use of any sheath fluid appropriate to your cells (e.g., culture medium, fresh water, sea water, oil).

Cell sorting on On-chip Sort utilizes the ‘Flow shift’ mechanism. When a detected target cell reaches close to the sorting area, a short liquid pulse is generated by pressurization of air to deflect the target cell into the collection reservoir. Non-target cells flow in a continuous flow to the waste. This sorting method does not involve the use of high pressure, nozzle, electric charges or high-speed collision, which are the inherent problems of other sorting techniques.

Flow shift method

All the liquids (sample, sheath and waste) remain inside the chip during analysis and sorting, and there are no external tanks. Fluids in channels and reservoirs do not come in contact with the instrument itself, and thus there is no sample-to-sample contamination or contamination to the instrument. Chips are available unsterilized or sterilized.

Jet-in-air or Cuvette hybrid cell sorters have multiple processes that triggers sorter-induced cellular stress (SICS). On-chip Sort allows for much gentler sorting of cells compared to conventional sorters because the use of microfluidic chip has eliminated such damaging steps.

Conventional Sorter On-chip Sort
Sorting Pressure Approx. 40psi Approx. 0.3psi
High-speed Collision Cells collide at high-speed when collected No collision
Electrostatic Charging Cells are stressed due to charging No electrostatic charging
Aerosol Generation Potentially hazardous for users No aerosols
Sorting Medium Must use specified sorting medium Most standard media accepted
Washing Post-sort wash with harsh chemicals No post-sort washing