Optimizing Hematology Analysis: When Physical Prototypes Fail, Simulation Provides the Answers

D. Isèbe
HORIBA Medical, France

Hematology analysis, the analysis of a blood sample to determine a variety of hematological parameters, is a major factor in diagnostic and treatment decisions for blood diseases. Accurate blood analysis requires counting and sorting different cells in a sample to measure their sizes and distributions. HORIBA Medical, a company that supplies medical diagnostic equipment, uses COMSOL Multiphysics to optimize their hematology device designs. One of their devices contains a micro aperture-electrode system for blood to pass through, where electrical impedance and voltage changes between a pair of electrodes are used to count particles. Measurements are difficult to take with experimental prototypes, so researchers at HORIBA relied on COMSOL Multiphysics to model the physical processes inside the system. They accounted for the pressure drop across the aperture, high fluid velocity, heat transfer, and electric fields. Using simulation, they determined that hydrodynamic focusing is a powerful way to improve impedance measurements and therefore device accuracy, and the technique is now used in one of HORIBA's most advanced hematology analyzers.

Simulation of hydrodynamic focusing used as a way to optimize hematology analysis, showing how sheath flow (blue surface) directs a sample (red surface) along the central axis of a micro-aperture.