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Magnetically Driven Rotary Microfilter 3D Printed

Clever researchers from China have fabricated a magnetically driven rotary microfilter that can be used to filter particles inside a microfluidic device.


(Fabricated magnetically driven rotary microfilter )

Microfluidic devices, also known as lab-on-a-chip devices, can be used to perform multiple laboratory functions inside a chip that usually measures a few square centimeters or less...

"By changing the direction of external magnetic field, the microfilter we made can be remotely manipulated on demand to either filter certain-sized particles or to allow them all to pass," said Dong Wu, a member of the research team from the University of Science and Technology of China. "This functionality could be used for many types of chemical and biological studies performed in lab-on-a-chip devices, and importantly, makes it possible for the chips to be reused."

They created the new filter using two-photon polymerization, which uses a focused femtosecond laser beam to solidify, or polymerize, a liquid light-sensitive material known as photoresist. Thanks to two-photon absorption, the polymerization can be done in a very precise manner, enabling fabrication of complex structures on the micron scale.

To make the microfilter, the researchers synthesized magnetic nanoparticles and mixed them with the photoresist. Fabricating the rotary microfilter required them to optimize the laser power density, number of pulses and scanning intervals used for polymerization. After testing its magnetically driven properties on a glass slide, they integrated the microfilter into a microfluidic device.

In his 1995 novel The Diamond Age, science fiction writer Neal Stephenson described an amazing submicroscopic filter wheel to purify water:

Dirty air and dirty water came in and pooled in tanks. Next to each tank was another tank containing slightly cleaner water or cleaner air. The tanks at the end were filled with perfectly clean nitrogen gas and perfectly clean water.

The line of tanks was referred to as a cascade...All the action took place in the walls separating the tanks, which were not really walls but nearly infinite grids of submicroscopic wheels, ever-rotating and many-spoked. Each spoke grabbed a nitrogen or water molecule on the dirty side and released it after spinning around to the clean side.

Via PhysOrg.

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