Researchers from NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a low-power microchip that combines microfluidics and magnetic switches. The chip uses an innovative approach to magnetic switches like those in a computer random access memory to overcome limitations of microfluidics and magnetic particle transport.
Conventional microfluidics systems use pumps and valves to move particles and liquids through channels. Magnetic particle transport microchips offer a new approach to microfluidics, but can require continuous power. The NIST/CU work eliminates these drawbacks and may have applications in biotechnology and medical diagnostics or as transport vehicles for biomolecules such as DNA.