STATION, Jan. 14, 2005 - Imagine an entire chemistry
laboratory reduced to the size of a postage stamp.
It could happen.
While others may think big, Texas A&M University
physicists Don Naugle and co-worker Igor Lyuksyutov
are thinking small - as in micro small. They have
successfully managed to levitate micron-sized fluids
using magnets, which could lead to new advances in
medicine, chemistry, chemical engineering and other
using small magnets on a postage-stamp sized chip,
Naugle and Lyuksyutov have managed to move and merge
tiny levitating droplets and crystals and to control
the orientation of the levitating crystals.
droplets used were as small as bacteria or 100 times
smaller than a human hair, and up to one billion times
smaller in volume than has been demonstrated by conventional
work was recently published in Applied Physics Letter
and featured in several science journals. Their research
is funded by The Robert A. Welch Foundation and National
Science Foundation grants.
might be possible to do the same thing with a large
number of fluids, chemicals or even a virus,"
Texas A&M team has managed to move and levitate
several substances, including alcohol solutions, oils,
some types of powders and even red blood cells and
bacteria. It could be theoretically possible to reduce
an entire chemistry lab to a few postage-stamp sized
to picture individual chemical beakers (droplets)
being merged into other chemical beakers. That's the
principal involved here."
calls the method a "lab on a chip" and says
the possibilities are exciting.
lab-on-a-chip device levitates and manipulates diamagnetic
objects, which are very weakly repelled by magnets,"
include living tissue and other objects and substances
you don't think of as being magnetic."
new procedures could be applied to other fields, he
it has taken several years to achieve the droplet
levitation process, we need to see if we can make
progress with manipulating DNA, nanotubes and other
things using both magnetic and electric fields. It
would be exciting to see if we could precisely transport
levitating nanotubes into predefined positions on
a silicon chip. This could open up even more doors
for future research."
Texas A&M team's work can be viewed at: http://levitation.physics.tamu.edu.
Don Naugle at 979-845-4429 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org