Wetting ridge assisted programmed magnetic actuation of droplets on ferrofluid-infused surface

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number7136
Journal / PublicationNature Communications
Online published8 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021



Flexible actuation of droplets is crucial for biomedical and industrial applications. Hence, various approaches using optical, electrical, and magnetic forces have been exploited to actuate droplets. For broad applicability, an ideal approach should be programmable and be able to actuate droplets of arbitrary size and composition. Here we present an “additive-free” magnetic actuation method to programmably manipulate droplets of water, organic, and biological fluids of arbitrary composition, as well as solid samples, on a ferrofluid-infused porous surface. We specifically exploit the spontaneously formed ferrofluid wetting ridges to actuate droplets using spatially varying magnetic fields. We demonstrate programmed processing and analysis of biological samples in individual drops as well as the collective actuation of large ensembles of micrometer-sized droplets. Such model respiratory droplets can be accumulated for improved quantitative and sensitive bioanalysis - an otherwise prohibitively difficult task that may be useful in tracking coronavirus.

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