Magnetic Bucket Brigade Transport Networks for Cell Transport
Controlled transport of biological cells in biomedical applications such as sorting, cell sequencing, and assembly of multicellular structures is a technological challenge. Research areas such as drug delivery or tissue engineering can benefit from precise cell location resulting in faster response rates or more complex tissue structures. Using computational methods, different soft magnetic elements with curved edges are designed to form a transport network, enabling transport and all functionalities for the manipulation of microbeads and cells on surfaces by rotational magnetic fields. Building blocks with bimodal functionalities due to segments of differently curved edges permit breakpoints as well as switchable transport via splitting and combining elements. Connecting the elements, networked paths are realized which allow variable movement patterns of magnetic carriers and cells. The direction of magnetic field rotation is altered to direct the beads and cells into different transport lines, and the exact timing is not critical. The networks are used to achieve deterministic movement of microbeads and cells with minimal intervention. Programmed transport over one millimeter with cell transport velocities of several micrometers per s is demonstrated. Based on scalable microchip technology, the networks can be integrated with CMOS-compatible materials and straightforwardly combined with sensing and diagnostic structures.