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Lab Chip. 2006 Aug;6(8):974-80. Epub 2006 Jul 3.

Continuous sorting of magnetic cells via on-chip free-flow magnetophoresis.

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  • 1National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), International Centre for Young Scientists (ICYS), 1-1 Namiki, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0044, Japan.


The ability to separate living cells is an essential aspect of cell research. Magnetic cell separation methods are among some of the most efficient methods for bulk cell separation. With the development of microfluidic platforms within the biotechnology sector, the design of miniaturised magnetic cell sorters is desirable. Here, we report the continuous sorting of cells loaded with magnetic nanoparticles in a microfluidic magnetic separation device. Cells were passed through a microfluidic chamber and were deflected from the direction of flow by means of a magnetic field. Two types of cells were studied, mouse macrophages and human ovarian cancer cells (HeLa cells). The deflection was dependent on the magnetic moment and size of the cells as well as on the applied flow rate. The experimentally observed deflection matched well with calculations. Furthermore, the separation of magnetic and non-magnetic cells was demonstrated using the same microfluidic device.

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