Motion of nanometer sized magnetic particles in a magnetic field gradient
Journal article, 2008
Using magnetic particles with sizes in the nanometer range in biomedical magnetic separation has gained much interest recently due to their higher surface area to particle volume and lower sedimentation rates. In this paper, we report our both theoretical and experimental investigation of the motion of magnetic particles in a magnetic field gradient with particle sizes from 425 nm down to 50 nm. In the experimental measurements, we monitor the absorbance change of the sample volume as the particle concentration varies over time. We also implement a Brownian dynamics algorithm to investigate the influence of particle interactions during the separation and compare it to the experimental results for validation. The simulation agrees well with the measurements for particle sizes around 425 nm. Some discrepancies remain for smaller particle sizes, which may indicate that additional factors also influence the separation for the smaller size range. We observe that the separation process includes the formation of chainlike particle aggregates due to the magnetic dipole-dipole interactions between particles when subjected to an external magnetic field. We can also see that the hydrodynamic interaction between these chains contributes to reducing the separation time. In conclusion, we show that the formation of these particle aggregates, and to a less extent the hydrodynamic interactions between them contributes to significantly enhancing the particle separation process. © 2008 American Institute of Physics.