We present a method for label-free imaging and sorting of cancer cells in blood, which is based on a dielectrophoretic microfluidic chip and label-free interferometric phase microscopy. The chip used for imaging has been embedded with dielectrophoretic electrodes, and therefore it can be used to sort the cells based on the decisions obtained during the cell flow by the label-free quantitative imaging method. Hence, we obtained a real-time, automatic, label-free imaging flow cytometry with the ability to sort the cells during flow. To validate our model, we combined into the label-free imaging interferometer a fluorescence imaging channel that indicated the correctness of the label-free sorting. We have achieved above 98% classification success and 69% sorting accuracy at flow rates of 4 to 7 μL hr−1. In the future, this method is expected to help in label-free sorting of circulating tumor cells in blood following an initial state-of-the-art cell enrichment.
- cell sorting
- circulating tumor cell
- imaging flow cytometry
- lab on a chip
- quantitative phase microscopy