Magnetically controlled ferromagnetic swimmers
Open access. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Microscopic swimming devices hold promise for radically new applications in lab-on-a-chip and microfluidic technology, diagnostics and drug delivery etc. In this paper, we demonstrate the experimental verification of a new class of autonomous ferromagnetic swimming devices, actuated and controlled solely by an oscillating magnetic field. These devices are based on a pair of interacting ferromagnetic particles of different size and different anisotropic properties joined by an elastic link and actuated by an external time-dependent magnetic field. The net motion is generated through a combination of dipolar interparticle gradient forces, time-dependent torque and hydrodynamic coupling. We investigate the dynamic performance of a prototype (3.6 mm) of the ferromagnetic swimmer in fluids of different viscosity as a function of the external field parameters (frequency and amplitude) and demonstrate stable propulsion over a wide range of Reynolds numbers. We show that the direction of swimming has a dependence on both the frequency and amplitude of the applied external magnetic field, resulting in robust control over the speed and direction of propulsion. This paves the way to fabricating microscale devices for a variety of technological applications requiring reliable actuation and high degree of control.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 665440. We also acknowledge support via the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (Grant No. EP/L015331/1).
This is the final version of the article. Available from Springer Nature via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 7, article 44142
Place of publication