Tessellated permanent magnet circuits for flow-through, open gradient separations of weakly magnetic materials.

Moore LR, Williams PS, Chalmers JJ, Zborowski M
J Magn Magn Mater 427 325-330 04/01/2017


Emerging microfluidic-based cell assays favor label-free red blood cell (RBC) depletion. Magnetic separation of RBC is possible because of the paramagnetism of deoxygenated hemoglobin but the process is slow for open-gradient field configurations. In order to increase the throughput, periodic arrangements of the unit magnets were considered, consisting of commercially available Nd-Fe-B permanent magnets and soft steel flux return pieces. The magnet design is uniquely suitable for multiplexing by magnet tessellation, here meaning the tiling of the magnet assembly cross-sectional plane by periodic repetition of the magnet and the flow channel shapes. The periodic pattern of magnet magnetizations allows a reduction of the magnetic material per channel with minimal distortion of the field cylindrical symmetry inside the magnet apertures. A number of such magnet patterns are investigated for separator performance, size and economy with the goal of designing an open-gradient magnetic separator capable of reducing the RBC number concentration a hundred-fold in 1 mL whole blood per hour.

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