Microfluidics and Nanofluidics

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 167–174 | Cite as

Artificial cilia fabricated using magnetic fiber drawing generate substantial fluid flow

  • Ye Wang
  • Yang Gao
  • Hans M. Wyss
  • Patrick D. Anderson
  • Jaap M. J. den Toonder
Research Paper


Microscopic hair-like structures, such as cilia, exist ubiquitously in nature and are used by various organisms for transportation purposes. Many efforts have been made to mimic the fluid pumping function of cilia, but most of the fabrication processes of these “artificial cilia” are tedious and expensive, hindering their practical applications. In this paper, an attractive and potentially cost-effective, magnetic fiber drawing fabrication technique of magnetic artificial cilia is demonstrated. Our artificial cilia are able to generate a substantial fluid net flow velocity of water of up to 70 µm/s (corresponding to a generated volumetric flow rate about 0.6 µL/min and a pressure difference of about 0.04 Pa) in a closed-loop microfluidic channel when actuated using an external magnetic field. A detailed analysis of the relationship between the experimentally observed cilia kinematics and corresponding induced flow is in line with a previously reported theoretical/numerical study.


Artificial cilia Microfluidics Actuators Flow generation 



This research forms part of the research programme of the Dutch Polymer Institute DPI, project #689.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MP4 4516 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MP4 10414 kb)

Supplementary material 3 (MP4 2983 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ye Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yang Gao
    • 1
  • Hans M. Wyss
    • 1
  • Patrick D. Anderson
    • 1
  • Jaap M. J. den Toonder
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Complex Molecular Systems ICMS, Materials Technology Institute MaTeEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Dutch Polymer Institute DPIEindhovenThe Netherlands

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