Coulter counters are analytical microfluidic instrument used to measure the size and concentration of biological cells or colloid particles suspended in electrolyte. The underlying working mechanism of Coulter counters is the Coulter principle which relies on the fact that when low-conductive cells pass through an electric field these cells cause disturbances in the measurement (current or voltage). Useful information about these cells can be obtained by analyzing these disturbances if an accurate correlation between the measured disturbances and cell characteristics. In this paper we use computational fluid dynamics method to investigate this correlation. The flow field is described by solving the Navier-Stokes equations, the electric field is represented by a Laplace’s equation in which the conductivity is calculated from the Navier-Stokes equations, and the cell motion is calculated by solving the equations of motion. The accuracy of the code is validated by comparing with analytical solutions. The study is based on a coplanar Coulter counter with three inlets that consist of two sheath flow inlet and one conductive flow inlet. The effects of diffusivity, cell size, sheath flow rate, and cell geometry are discussed in details. The impacts of electrode size, gap between electrodes and electrode location on the measured distribution are also studied.

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