Magneto-mechanical mixing and manipulation of picoliter volumes in vesicles

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Birgit Hausmann


T. Franke, L. Schmid, D. A. Weitz and A. Wixforth "Magneto-mechanical mixing and manipulation of picoliter volumes in vesicles" Lab Chip, 9, 2831-2835 2009



Magnetic manipulation, positioning, agitation and mixing of ultrasmall liquid volumes has been realized utilizing superparamagnetic beads in giant unilamellar vesicles. In the presence of a magnetic field the beads align to form extended chains while a rotating magnetic field provokes the chains to break up into smaller fragments caused by the interplay of viscous friction and magnetic attraction.

Results and Discussion

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While a magnetic field gradient generates a force on the magnetic dipole chains a rotational field introduces spinning. An electroformation method was used to fabricate the vesicles. The lipid in chloroform was deposited onto two indium tin oxide (ITO) coated glass slides and the organic solvent was evaporated in vacuum. An aqueous solution containing the superparamagnetic beads was added to the dried lipid. The two ITO plates were mounted in parallel and an electric field was applied. Finally, the voltage was increased to facilitate the separation of vesicles. A theoretical minimum magnetic field of <math> 59 \mu T </math> is needed to align the superparamagnetic beads (of <math> 1 \mu m </math> size) within the vesicles in chains. Since the force to move the beads is proportional to the magnetic field gradient and it also has to be equal to the hydrodynamic drag force, the field to move beads of a certain radius a certain distance can be estimated.