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Synchronous magnetic control of water droplets in bulk ferrofluid

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Abstract

We present a microfluidic platform for magnetic manipulation of water droplets immersed in bulk oil-based ferrofluid. Although non-magnetic, the droplets are exclusively controlled by magnetic fields without any pressure-driven flow. The fluids are dispensed in a sub-millimeter Hele-Shaw chamber that includes permalloy tracks on its substrate. An in-plane rotating magnetic field magnetizes the permalloy tracks, producing local magnetic gradients, while an orthogonal magnetic field magnetizes the bulk ferrofluid. To minimize the magnetostatic energy of the system, the water droplets are attracted towards the locations on the tracks where the bulk ferrofluid is repelled. Using this technique, we demonstrate synchronous generation and propagation of water droplets, study the kinematics of propagation, and analyze the flow of the bulk ferrofluid. In addition, we show controlled break-up of droplets and droplet-to-droplet interactions. Finally, we discuss future applications owing to the potential biocompatibility of the droplets.

Graphical abstract: Synchronous magnetic control of water droplets in bulk ferrofluid

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Publication details

The article was received on 03 Oct 2017, accepted on 23 Nov 2017 and first published on 05 Dec 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01973D
Citation: Soft Matter, 2018, Advance Article
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    Synchronous magnetic control of water droplets in bulk ferrofluid

    G. Katsikis, A. Breant, A. Rinberg and M. Prakash, Soft Matter, 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01973D

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