“The unique fusion of individual innovative technologies will provide a novel diagnostic tool leading to a better understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of rare anaemia.”

Lars Kaestner, Coordinator of CoMMiTMenT

Optofluidic Microscopy-based Cell Sorting (OMiCS)

Optofluidic Microscopy-based Cell Sorting (OMiCS) is an emerging technology that combines molecular imaging with optical trapping technology and cell sorting capabilities. It is based on fluorescent molecular biomarkers (e.g., antibodies or fluorophores) and secondary cellular characteristics, such as the cell shape or other alterations of cellular morphology.

OMiCS unifies the advantages of fully automated cell separation (FACS comes closest in its properties) and conventional light microscopy. OMiCS has the following clear advantages over FACS for the given application:

  • Cell shape and morphology can be more reliably judged due to the automated image recognition features. FACS is limited in this sense due to the indirect read-outs of the scattering parameters).
  • Very small sample sizes (e.g., a drop of blood, which is a few microliters in volume) are sufficient for operation; therefore, sample collection can be limited to minimally invasive methods (e.g., glucose testing in patients with diabetes).
  • OMiCS is significantly gentler than FACS, as the infrared laser wavelengths that are used for the manipulation and sorting are not absorbed by the cell material. FACS requires high pressure that can damage sensitive cells.) In contrast, OMiCS gently moves the cells using piconewton optical forces.