An integrated micromechanical large particle in flow sorter (MILPIS)

Nurul Mohd Fuad, Joanna Skommer, Timo Friedrich, Jan Kaslin, Donald Wlodkowic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch

2 Citations (Scopus)


At present, the major hurdle to widespread deployment of zebrafish embryo and larvae in large-scale drug development projects is lack of enabling high-throughput analytical platforms. In order to spearhead drug discovery with the use of zebrafish as a model, platforms need to integrate automated pre-test sorting of organisms (to ensure quality control and standardization) and their in-test positioning (suitable for high-content imaging) with modules for flexible drug delivery. The major obstacle hampering sorting of millimetre sized particles such as zebrafish embryos on chip-based devices is their substantial diameter (above one millimetre), mass (above one milligram), which both lead to rapid gravitational-induced sedimentation and high inertial forces. Manual procedures associated with sorting hundreds of embryos are very monotonous and as such prone to significant analytical errors due to operator's fatigue. In this work, we present an innovative design of a micromechanical large particle in-flow sorter (MILPIS) capable of analysing, sorting and dispensing living zebrafish embryos for drug discovery applications. The system consisted of a microfluidic network, revolving micromechanical receptacle actuated by robotic servomotor and opto-electronic sensing module. The prototypes were fabricated in poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) transparent thermoplastic using infrared laser micromachining. Elements of MILPIS were also fabricated in an optically transparent VisiJet resin using 3D stereolithography (SLA) processes (ProJet 7000HD, 3D Systems). The device operation was based on a rapidly revolving miniaturized mechanical receptacle. The latter function was to hold and position individual fish embryos for (i) interrogation, (ii) sorting decision-making and (iii) physical sorting.. The system was designed to separate between fertilized (LIVE) and non-fertilized (DEAD) eggs, based on optical transparency using infrared (IR) emitters and receivers embedded in the system. Digital oscilloscope were used to distinguish the diffraction signals from IR sensors when both LIVE and DEAD embryos were flow through in the chip. Image process analysis were also used as detection module to track DEAD embryos as it flowed in the channel.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBio-MEMS and Medical Microdevices II
EditorsSander van den Driesche
Place of PublicationWashington DC USA
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781628416411
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventConference on Bio-MEMS and Medical Microdevices 2015 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 5 May 20156 May 2015
Conference number: 2nd

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceConference on Bio-MEMS and Medical Microdevices 2015
OtherThis conference is part of the SPIE Microtechnologies 2015 symposium (not on the ERA event list)
Internet address


  • image acquisition
  • in-flow sorter
  • infrared sensors
  • zebrafish embryos

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