Institute of Functional Interfaces

Pump-free transport of magnetic particles in microfluidic channels

  • chair:

    Danckwardt, N. / Franzreb, M. / Guber, A. / Saile, V. (2011)

  • place:

    Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials 323 (2011), 22, 2776–2781  

  • Date: 2011
  • Danckwardt, N. / Franzreb, M. / Guber, A. / Saile, V. (2011): „Pump-free transport of magnetic particles in microfluidic channels“. In: Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials 323 (2011), 22, 2776–2781  




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The use of magnetic particles in microfluidic devices offers new possibilities and a new degree of freedom to sequential synthesis and preparative or analytical procedures in very small volumes. In contrast to most of the traditional approaches where the liquid phase is flushed or pumped along a solid phase, the transport of magnetic particles through a microfluidic channel has the advantage of reduced reagent consumption and simpler, smaller systems.

By lining up different reservoirs along the transport direction, reactions with different agents can be accomplished. Here, we present a pump and valve-free microfluidic particle transport system. By creating a simple and very effective layout of soft magnetic structures, which concentrate an external homogeneous magnetic field, a passive, thus easy to operate structure was generated. Most importantly, this layout is based on a simple tube by which fluidic and magnetic parts are separated. The tube itself is disposable and can be replaced prior to vital reactions, thus helping reduce sample cross-contaminations without affecting the particle transport properties.

The layout of the device was thoroughly examined by a computer simulation of the particle trajectories, and the results were confirmed by experiments on a micro-machined demonstrator, which revealed an effective transport speed of up to 5 mm/s in 30 mT magnetic fields. Thus, we present a microfluidic transport device that combines the advantages of magnetic particles in microfluidic systems with a simple single-use technology for, e.g., bioanalytical purposes.