We present a theoretical analysis of a new design for microfluidic magnetic bead separation. It combines an external array of mm-sized permanent magnets with magnetization directions alternating between up and down with mu m-sized soft magnetic structures integrated in the bottom of the separation channel. The concept is studied analytically for simple representative geometries and by numerical simulation of an experimentally realistic system geometry. The array of permanent magnets provides long-range magnetic forces that attract the beads to the channel bottom, while the soft magnetic elements provide strong local retaining forces that prevent captured beads from being torn loose by the fluid drag. The addition of the soft magnetic elements increases the maximum retaining force by two orders of magnitude. The design is scalable and provides an efficient and simple solution to the capture of large amounts of magnetic beads on a microsystem platform.
- lab-on-a-chip system
- magnetic beads
- high gradient magnetic separation