MEMS-based cell sorting now commercial reality


INNOVATIVE Micro Technology’s MEMS cell sorting chips are now seeing real-world application, with Owl Biomedical commercially launching its benchtop cell sorters.

The IMT cell sorting technology integrates optics, 3D microfluidics and electromagnetic actuation, and diverts targeted cells to be separated from materials like blood or bone marrow.

Cell sorting is used in research laboratories to enable the treatment of cancer, develop regenerative medicines and diagnose disease and chemotherapy efficacy. Once the cells are isolated, they can then be repaired and healed.

The IMS MEMS cell sorting chip has at its heart an ultra-high-speed microscopic fluidic valve which operates at 0 to 1.4 meters per second, spanning 25 microns in 15 microseconds.

In the Owl Biomedical Nanosorter system, the chip is embedded in a fully-enclosed, disposable cartridge which safely processes and purifies human cells.

IMT has a six inch MEMS fabrication facility in Santa Barbara, USA, which has a capacity of 45,000 wafers a year.