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 related fields. By 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.
The 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 methods. Their 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. "It might be possible to do the same thing with a large number of fluids, chemicals or even a virus," Naugle explains.
Keith Randall | EurekAlert!
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