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Actuation and tracking of a single magnetic particle on a chip

Article appeared in: Applied Physics Letters 2012, 100, 014107; DOI: 10.1063/1.3673909

Philipp Rinklin,  Hans-Joachim Krause, and Bernhard Wolfrum


Published: January 2012

Actuation and tracking of a single magnetic particle on a chipSchematic of the crossbar array chip. The microwires are processed on Si/SiO2 substrates and are insulated by a silicon oxide/silicon nitride layer system (transparent). By controlling the current in the microwires, single particles (black) can be actuated on the chip’s surface.


We present the defined actuation of a single magnetic particle on a crossbar array chip. Two orthogonal layers of parallel microwires are used to generate highly localized magnetic field gradients for particle trapping and movement. We introduce an analytical model to simulate the actuation of the particle, which is in precise agreement with the experimentally observed trajectory. The single-particle approach allows us to resolve subtle features of the induced magnetic field distribution. We demonstrate that the actuation strongly depends on the applied current sequence and introduce switching patterns for reliable control of an individual particle.