Microfluidic devices in superconducting magnets: on-chip free-flow diamagnetophoresis of polymer particles and bubbles
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- Vojtíšek, M., Tarn, M.D., Hirota, N. et al. Microfluid Nanofluid (2012) 13: 625. doi:10.1007/s10404-012-0979-6
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Superconducting magnets enable the study of high magnetic fields on materials and objects, for example in material synthesis, self-assembly or levitation experiments. The setups employed often lack in precise spatial control of the object of interest within the bore of the magnet. Microfluidic technology enables accurate manipulation of fluidic surroundings and we have investigated the integration of microfluidic devices into superconducting magnets to enable controlled studies of objects in high magnetic fields. Polymeric microparticles similar in size to biological cells were manipulated via diamagnetic repulsion. The particles were suspended in an aqueous paramagnetic medium of manganese (II) chloride and pumped into a microfluidic chip, where they were repelled in continuous flow by the high magnetic field. The extent of deflection was studied as a function of increasing (1) particle size, (2) paramagnetic salt concentration, and (3) magnetic field strength. Optimizing these parameters allowed for the spatial separation of two particle populations via on-chip free-flow diamagnetophoresis. Finally, preliminary findings on the repulsion of air bubbles are shown.