10 March, Kuala Lumpur – Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) have co-organised a Lecture on Acoustofluidics by Professor Thomas Laurell from Lund University, Sweden. During the lecture, Professor Laurell described basic development and design of acoustofluidic systems as well as applications and development of the novel research field.
Acoustofluidics is a relatively new research field that combines acoustics with microfluidics to enable gentle yet high performing manipulation of biological matter. Well-defined and localised acoustic forces are used to precisely move cells in a process called acoustophoresis.
Acoustophoresis has often been compared to the current technique of centrifugation. The former provides some advantages over the latter: Acoustophoresis is a gentler process that causes less cell damage compared to centrifugation. Additionally, acoustophoresis is able to handle smaller sample volumes. Furthermore, acoustophoretic apparatus have fewer moving parts hence require less maintenance. In the case of extracellular vesicle (EV) isolation, it reduces the likelihood of smaller EVs merging to become bigger EVs that will affect the end result.
Professor Laurell explained that the process of acoustophoresis separates particles based on particle size, density, and compressibility. Acoustofluidics enables scientists to carry out laboratory operations such as depletion, concentration or enrichment, buffer exchange, and separation.