Broken flow symmetry explains the dynamics of small particles in deterministic lateral displacement arrays
Deterministic lateral displacement (DLD) is a technique for size fractionation of particles in continuous flow that has shown great potential for biological applications. Several theoretical models have been proposed, but experimental evidence has demonstrated that a rich class of intermediate migration behavior exists, which is not predicted. We present a unified theoretical framework to infer the path of particles in the whole array on the basis of trajectories in a unit cell. This framework explains many of the unexpected particle trajectories reported and can be used to design arrays for even nanoscale particle fractionation. We performed experiments that verify these predictions and used our model to develop a condenser array that achieves full particle separation with a single fluidic input.