Universal motion of mirror-symmetric microparticles in confined Stokes flow

Rumen N. Georgiev, Sara O. Toscano, William E. Uspal, Bram Bet, Sela Samin, René van Roij, Huseyin Burak Eral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


Comprehensive understanding of particle motion in microfluidic devices is essential to unlock additional technologies for shape-based separation and sorting of microparticles like microplastics, cells, and crystal polymorphs. Such particles interact hydrodynamically with confining surfaces, thus altering their trajectories. These hydrodynamic interactions are shape dependent and can be tuned to guide a particle along a specific path. We produce strongly confined particles with various shapes in a shallow microfluidic channel via stop flow lithography. Regardless of their exact shape, particles with a single mirror plane have identical modes of motion: in-plane rotation and cross-stream translation along a bell-shaped path. Each mode has a characteristic time, determined by particle geometry. Furthermore, each particle trajectory can be scaled by its respective characteristic times onto two master curves. We propose minimalistic relations linking these timescales to particle shape. Together these master curves yield a trajectory universal to particles with a single mirror plane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21865-21872
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Hele–Shaw flow
  • microfluidics
  • particle-laden flow


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