Microfluidic Device Uses Permanent Magnets For Connectors

Fri, Nov 20, 2009


Microfluidic Device Uses Permanent Magnets For Connectors

Earlier today, Science Daily published an article on the use of magnets by a researcher at NIST, Javier Atencia, to create a “new, inexpensive, reusable and highly efficient microfluidic connector“.

Microfluidics involves the control of fluids in very small channels and containers. According to the article:

The NIST connector employs a ring magnet with a O-ring gasket on its bottom and a tube in its center set directly atop the inlet or outlet port of a microfluidic channel embedded in a glass chip. A disc magnet on the underside of the chip holds the first magnet — and its tubing — securely in place.

According to the abstract of the original paper on which the article was based, “interfacial forces in the range of 2-15 N” have been achieved.

Magnetic connector for microfluidics. Courtesy of Atencia et al (2009).

The folks at NIST do warn that while these connectors are suitable for a range of microfluidic applications, they are not suitable for use with magnetic nanoparticles or at higher temperatures.

You can get more details on this application here.

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Gareth is a Founding Principal at Technology Metals Research, LLC. He has expertise in a variety of magnetic materials, devices and applications, and their associated trends and challenges, particularly for renewable energy production. For more information check out his biography page. Don't forget to check out Terra Magnetica at Twitter too.

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One Response to “Microfluidic Device Uses Permanent Magnets For Connectors”

  1. Gin Says:

    I like the idea that improvements to the gear mechanisms are being developed but this would increase costs for purchase which can prove to be a hurdle for the consumer.