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Miss Elizabeth Martin

PhD Project Description

Microfluidic metamaterials for lab-on-a-chip technology

Prof. Feodor Ogrin and Dr. Stefano Pagliara

This project will explore a new type of soft metamaterials based on magnetically actuated micromechanical motors [1,2]. The motor is based on a dipole pair of ferromagnetic particles linked by an elastic coupler. When such a micromotor is placed in an oscillating uniform external magnetic it can work as a self-propelling low Reynolds number (Re << 1) swimming device or a pump when immersed in fluid. The aim of the project is to exploit the collective behaviour of many individual micromotors combined in one continuous periodic structure, a magneto-elastic membrane (MEM). In particular, we will look at the design and implementation of microfluidic devices, based on MEM, which would perform a range of functions required in lab-on-a-chip technology. For instance, there is a current need to achieve a controlled flow of liquids at microscopic scale. This project will explore this issue by systematically investigating the performance of MEMs and their control (by the magnetic field) within the environment of microfluidic channels. We will also look at the possibility of using MEMs in other biophysical applications, such as bioreactors, for active cell growth. Indirectly related to the Subtheme R.4.6 ‘Magnetic metamaterials’. There are no analogous of such materials to this day. Once implemented it will provide breakthroughs across a range of technologies, including: electromagnetic metamaterials, microfluidics, tissue engineering, auxetics, optics and photonics.

[1] F.Y. Ogrin, P.G. Petrov et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 100 (2008) 218102.A.D. Gilbert et al. Q. J. Mech. Appl. Math. 64 (2011) 239-263.
[2] F.Y. Ogrin, P.G. Petrov et al. Controllable Magnetic Systems, Patent application WO 2009/103938 A1, US 2011/0052393 A1, 2009, 2011.