UTMN Researchers Unveil a Non-contact Method of Capturing and Transferring Micro- and Nanoparticles
Scientists from the UTMN Research Laboratory of Photonics and Microfluidics have developed a non-contact method of capturing and transferring micro- and nanoparticles. The method is unique and allows hundreds and thousands of particles to be manipulated at a time, transferring them to a specified destination. Moreover, the method is harmless for particles, which allows for its use in manipulating biological objects as well.
According to head of the laboratory, Natalia Ivanova, and senior researcher, Oleg Tarasov, the method is a solution for one of the more pressing issues in microfluidics – actively developing the science focused on managing microamounts of liquid or microparticles. As microfluidics has become more popular, the parallel transfer of thousands of objects has become a priority, since it can significantly increase the speed of work.
Although developed in the 1970s, classic laser forceps are rather expensive, they can only transfer a few particles with a micron accuracy. However, not every piece of research needs such accuracy; some particles can’t be manipulated by laser technology, and researchers often need to capture larger amounts of particles.
The method developed by UTMN scientists is universal and affordable due to its simplicity. All a researcher has to do is to place particles into a layer of water and alcohol and focus a light beam on it. Light changes the surface tension of liquid. As a result, liquid gathers in the spotlight in the form of a microdroplet housing an intense convective flow.
Moving the light beam results in the transferring of the droplet, which captures all the particles in its trajectory. Due to the convective flow, the captured particles are held inside the droplet and moved to a specified place.
This method allows thousands of particles to be captured and transferred at a time. Subsequently, they can be sorted more precisely with optical forceps.
The research, conducted by two groups of scientists from Russia and Great Britain, is supported by two prestigious grants from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the European Space Agency. The Russian group, headed by federal researcher Natalia Ivanova, is carrying out an experimental test of the method, while Professor Viktor Starov’s group from Loughborough University is working on its theoretical modelling.
Source: RIA Novosti
Link to Russian version: https://www.utmn.ru/presse/novosti/nauka-segodnya/325181/