AcouSort’s core technology is acoustofluidics – a combination of sound waves (acousto) and microfluidics. Microfluidics allow for precise control of liquids while acoustics gives us the ability to move particles of different biophysical properties. By combining the two technologies, we have the unique ability to move target cell types from one liquid to another. This allows us to fractionate the different components in a blood sample, isolate extracellular vesicles or wash cells to remove contaminants, without having any physical contact with the sample. As the technology is gentle and rapid, it provides a competitive alternative to conventional processing techniques such as centrifugation or filtration. By using acoustofluidics, AcouSort can streamline sample processing for a wide range of applications – from biomarker discovery in basic research, to preparation of clinical blood samples prior to analysis, or sample purification in cell therapy manufacturing.
How can sound be used to move cells?
Sound is created when a vibration generates pressure waves that propagate through a medium. When the wave encounters a particle, the particle is moved by the acoustic forces generated by the wave. In acoustofluidics, the technology used by AcouSort, ultrasound is used to create standing acoustic waves in microfluidic channels. The standing wave typically focuses the particles toward the pressure node, where the pressure variation is the lowest.
The sound frequency is similar to diagnostic ultrasound and has been shown to be very gentle to biological samples, with no activation or decrease in viability.
Acoustofluidics can be implemented in two different ways, acoustic separation and acoustic trapping.