03/01/2022 | News

Mag­netic Janus particles im­prove bio­molecule trans­port in mini­ature labs

Experiments by researchers at the University of Kassel could improve the diagnosis of diseases with the help of lab-on-a-chip technologies: They have controlled so-called Janus particles for the transport of biomolecules (analytes).

In lab-on-a-chip systems, complex chemical processes take place in a very small space. Analogous to large apparatus in laboratories, there are channels, pumps, valves and measuring chambers the thickness of a human hair on plastic substrates only the size of plastic cards. A sample, e.g. a drop of blood, passes sensors that analyse the chemical components of the sample. The sensors in turn translate these into electrical signals for evaluation. Such systems are already used for diagnostics, for example in blood glucose meters or pregnancy tests. However, the technology still offers a lot of potential.

For about ten years, the Department of Functional Thin Films and Physics with Synchrotron Radiation at the University of Kassel (Prof. Dr. Arno Ehresmann) has been researching technologies that can transport specific biomolecules (e.g. analytes to be detected) in lab-on-a-chip systems through the reaction and analysis chambers in a targeted manner with the help of magnetic micro- and nanoparticles. They have now developed a method that significantly improves control over these movements and accelerates the transport. They have now published their results in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.

See: Huhnstock, R., Reginka, M., Tomita, A. et al. Translatory and rotatory motion of exchange-bias capped Janus particles controlled by dynamic magnetic field landscapes. Sci Rep 11, 21794 (2021).