Continuous separation of magnetic beads using a Y-shaped microfluidic system integrated with hard-magnetic elements

Jiajia Sun, Kai Wu, Diqing Su, Guannan Guo, Zongqian Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A Y-shaped microfluidic separator with an array of hard-magnetic elements integrated in a non-magnetic substrate is designed to realize continuous separation of magnetic beads under an external bias field. By fixing the magnetization directions of the hard-magnetic elements parallel to the wall of microchannel, the spatial distribution of the magnetic field can be adjusted by the geometrical size of elements, the gap between two neighboring elements, and the direction of the external bias field. In this work, magnetic beads comprising of multiple magnetic/superparamagnetic nanoparticles (10 nm Fe5Si3, Fe3Si or Fe3O4) in polymer matrixes are used. Herein, Kelvin force on the magnetic bead is described by treating each magnetized superparamagnetic nanoparticle as an equivalent magnetic dipole. With the closed-form Kelvin force, a two-way model that takes bead-fluid interaction into account is adopted to investigate the trajectories of magnetic beads in our Y-shaped microfluidic system. Using the two-way model, the influence of the beads' size, the direction of the external bias field, the magnetic bead concentration and the bead-fluid interaction on the trajectories of magnetic beads is also investigated. 100% collection or separation efficiency can be realized just by adjusting inlet velocities. In addition, it is theoretically demonstrated that two kinds of magnetic beads with small size difference (down to 100 nm) can be successfully separated by using our Y-shaped microfluidic separator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035004
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


  • FeSi
  • FeSi
  • hard-magnetic elements
  • magnetic bead
  • microfluidic separator
  • superparamagnetic nanoparticle


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