Magnetically-actuated artificial cilia for microfluidic propulsion

S. N. Khaderi, C. B. Craus, J. Hussong, N. Schorr, J. Belardi, J. Westerweel, O. Prucker, J. Ruehe, J.M.J. den Toonder, P. R. Onck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we quantitatively analyse the performance of magnetically-driven artificial cilia for lab-on-a-chip applications. The artificial cilia are fabricated using thin polymer films with embedded magnetic nano-particles and their deformation is studied under different external magnetic fields and flows. A coupled magneto-mechanical solid-fluid model that accurately captures the interaction between the magnetic field, cilia and fluid is used to simulate the cilia motion. The elastic and magnetic properties of the cilia are obtained by fitting the results of the computational model to the experimental data. The performance of the artificial cilia with a non-uniform cross-section is characterised using the numerical model for two channel configurations that are of practical importance: an open-loop and a closed-loop channel. We predict that the flow and pressure head generated by the artificial cilia can be as high as 18 microlitres per minute and 3 mm of water, respectively. We also study the effect of metachronal waves on the flow generated and show that the fluid propelled increases drastically compared to synchronously beating cilia, and is unidirectional. This increase is significant even when the phase difference between adjacent cilia is small. The obtained results provide guidelines for the optimal design of magnetically-driven artificial cilia for microfluidic propulsion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2002-2010
Number of pages9
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2011



Cite this