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Issue 23, 2009
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Micro-fluidic actuation using magnetic artificial cilia

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We demonstrate advanced fluid manipulations using magnetic polymeric artificial cilia on the walls of a microfluidic channel. In nature, cilia are little hairs covering the surface of micro-organisms which enable them to manipulate a fluid on the micro-scale. The asymmetric movement of natural cilia is crucial to obtain a net fluid flow. We have developed a ferromagnetic polymer made from iron nanoparticles and polydimethylsiloxane, and describe a process that can structure the material into high aspect ratio lying artificial cilia with a length of 300 µm. These artificial cilia were actuated with a homogeneous rotating magnetic field (µ0H < 50 mT) generated with a compact external electromagnet. An asymmetric movement involving torsion could be created when the cilia were provided with a remanent magnetisation perpendicular to the plane of rotation of the magnetic field vector. The artificial cilia could be actuated in fluid up to a frequency of ∼50 Hz. In an aqueous solution in a microfluidic chamber we were able to generate rotational as well as translational fluid movements with fluid velocities up to ∼0.5 mm s−1.

Graphical abstract: Micro-fluidic actuation using magnetic artificial cilia

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Supplementary files

Article information

19 May 2009
20 Aug 2009
First published
18 Sep 2009

Lab Chip, 2009,9, 3413-3421
Article type

Micro-fluidic actuation using magnetic artificial cilia

F. Fahrni, M. W. J. Prins and L. J. van IJzendoorn, Lab Chip, 2009, 9, 3413
DOI: 10.1039/B908578E

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