A new class of magnetically actuated pumps and valves for microfluidic applications
© The Author(s) 2018. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
We propose a new class of magnetically actuated pumps and valves that could be incorporated into microfluidic chips with no further external connections. The idea is to repurpose ferromagnetic low Reynolds number swimmers as devices capable of generating fluid flow, by restricting the swimmers’ translational degrees of freedom. We experimentally investigate the flow structure generated by a pinned swimmer in different scenarios, such as unrestricted flow around it as well as flow generated in straight, cross-shaped, Y-shaped and circular channels. This demonstrates the feasibility of incorporating the device into a channel and its capability of acting as a pump, valve and flow splitter. Different regimes could be selected by tuning the frequency and amplitude of the external magnetic field driving the swimmer, or by changing the channel orientation with respect to the field. This versatility endows the device with varied functionality which, together with the robust remote control and reproducibility, makes it a promising candidate for several applications.
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. 8, article 933