Université de Strasbourg

Microfluidics without walls

USIAS Fellows : Michael Coey, Bernard Doudin et Thomas Hermans

Microfluidics deals with the behavior, control and manipulation of fluids that are geometrically constrained. This is usually achieved using micro-fabricated sub-mm scale molds made of glass, plastic, or polymeric elastomers. We propose here a radically different approach, using magnetic forces to constrain the flow of liquids. This concept was pioneered by USIAS fellow M. Coey in 2010 (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106(22): 8811–8817), who showed how paramagnetic ‘liquid tubes’ can be created at the vicinity of a ferromagnetic guiding substrate. Our project aims at realizing a proof-of-principle demonstrator, using a magnetized circuit to constrain the flow of liquids and provide efficient mixing capabilities. Our long-term ambition is to take advantage of the technical developments in nanomagnetism and spintronics, in order to create a new type of microfluidic cell. This would allow fluidic manipulation and control beyond those possible on geometrically constrained flow circuits, with possible high impact for chemistry and life sciences applications.  

Investissements d'Avenir