EPSRC CDT in Metamaterials (PhD studentship): Magnetoelastic metamaterials for lab-on-a-chip technology

University of Exeter - Departments of Physics and Engineering

Joint supervisors: Dr Feodor Ogrin, Dr Stefano Pagliara, Dr Francesca Palombo

Industrial supervisors: Dr Tom Myers, Platform Kinetics

The aim of the project is to apply magneto-elastic metamaterial based on patterned microscopic ferromagnetic elements for construction of microfluidic devices. In our theoretical studies [1-2] we have shown that such material can exhibit a range of mechanical regimes under an activation by AC magnetic field. In particular, it can perform functions of pumping, valving and stirrering at low Reynolds number (Re<<1) [3]. These properties result from the interaction of magnetic, elastic and hydrodynamic forces and are invaluable for microfluidic applications, and particularly for lab-on-a-chip technology [4]. The current applications in this area are often limited to use of fixed passive elements (e.g. those using the capillary forces) or have to rely on bulky external equipment, which makes the technology dependent on the use of laboratory. In this project we will explore active microfluidic elements, that can provide a wide range of functionalities and real-time dynamic reconfiguration, while keeping the design and structure of the chip suitable for portable applications. To attest this technology we will develop several applications for medical diagnostics and regenerative medicine. In particular, we will  design a sample preparation “front-end” to which requires zero external resources, to extract and prepare a sample ready to be used with the already abundant rapid point-of-care tests, that require laboratory resources to process the sample, one such example isfor blood plasma separation, that could be used with the available biomarkers for rapid diagnosis of different life-threatening illnesses (e.g. sepsis). (i) the basis of this technology is directly related to the metamaterial principles of the material structure and its operation. (ii) As well as the indicated above, it also relates to the Subtheme of ‘Magnetic metamaterials’. (iii) Once implemented it will provide breakthrough across a range of technologies, and particularly in lab-on-a-chip and point-of-care medical diagnostics.  (iv) two current CDT projects are  linked directly to this research, joint training and collaborative work within CDT will significantly enhance the efficiency of the research work and postgraduate studies.

[1]  F.Y. Ogrin, P.G. Petrov et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 100 (2008) 218102.A.D. Gilbert et al. Q. J. Mech. Appl. Math. 64 (2011) 239-263. [2]  F.Y. Ogrin, P.G. Petrov et al. Controllable Magnetic Systems, Patent application WO 2009/103938 A1, US 2011/0052393 A1, 2009, 2011. [3] M. Bryan et al, J. Appl. Phys. 121, 4976103 (2017) [4] J. Hamilton et al. Sci. Reports, 7, 44142, (2017) & Sci. Reports (Submitted) August 2017.

This studentship is part of the Centre of Doctoral Training in Metamaterials. Please see all fully funded opportunities.

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South West England