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On-chip manipulation and trapping of microorganisms using a patterned magnetic pathway

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We demonstrate on-chip manipulation and trapping of individual microorganisms at designated positions on a silicon surface within a microfluidic channel. Superparamagnetic beads acted as microorganism carriers. Cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 microorganisms were immobilized on amine-functionalized magnetic beads (Dynabead® M-270 Amine) by 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide (EDC)–N-hydroxysulfosuccinimide coupling chemistry. The magnetic pathway was patterned lithographically such that half-disk Ni80Fe20 (permalloy) 5 μm elements were arranged sequentially for a length of 400 micrometers. An external rotating magnetic field of 10 mT was used to drive a translational force (maximum 70 pN) on the magnetic bead carriers proportional to the product of the field strength and its gradient along the patterned edge. Individual microorganisms immobilized on the magnetic beads (transporting objects) were directionally manipulated using a magnetic rail track, which was able to manipulate particles as a result of asymmetric forces from the curved and flat edges of the pattern on the disk. Transporting objects were then successfully trapped in a magnetic trapping station pathway. The transporting object moves two half-disk lengths in one field rotation, resulting in movement at ~24 μm s−1 for 1 Hz rotational frequency with 5 μm pattern elements spaced with a 1 μm gap between elements.

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This research was supported by a WCU (World Class University) program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (R32-20026).

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Correspondence to C. G. Kim.

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Venu, R., Lim, B., Hu, X.H. et al. On-chip manipulation and trapping of microorganisms using a patterned magnetic pathway. Microfluid Nanofluid 14, 277–285 (2013).

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