The cytoskeleton is the major mechanical structure of the cell; it is a complex, dynamic biopolymer network comprising microtubules, actin, and intermediate filaments. Both the individual filaments and the entire network are not simple elastic solids but are instead highly nonlinear structures. Appreciating the mechanics of biopolymer networks is key to under- standing the mechanics of cells. Here, we review the mechanical properties of cytoskeletal polymers and discuss the implications for the behavior of cells.
We demonstrate an acoustic wave driven microfluidic cell sorter that combines advantages of multilayer device fabrication with planar surface acoustic wave excitation. We harness the strong vertical component of the refracted acoustic wave to enhance cell actuation by using an asymmetric flow field to increase cell deflection. Precise control of the 3-dimensional flow is realized by topographical structures implemented on the top of the microchannel. We experimentally quantify the effect of the structure dimensions and acoustic parameter. The design attains cell sorting rates and purities approaching those of state of the art fluorescence-activated cell sorters with all the advantages of microfluidic cell sorting.