Students UT controlling bacteria on chip with Nintendo Controller




Students of the University of Twente have a transparent lab-on-a-chip with microchannels made in which bacteria can be controlled by changing. A magnetic field direction

The students from the MESA + Institute for Nanotechnology, along with KIST, a so-called lab-on-a-chip made ​​for bacteria that ‘magneto tactical’ are. These bacteria orient their movement on the basis of the earth’s magnetic field. The students placed the bacteria in 5 micrometers deep microchannels on the transparent lab-on-a-chip and put them exposed to an external magnetic field.

With the aid of an old NES controller students varied, the distance between the chip and the magnet, and thus the strength of the magnetic field. Under the influence of this change, the bacteria to a reversal in their movement. “The greater the magnetic field, the less wide the curve that the bacteria,” said the UT. “For small magnetic fields, the bacteria make a clear curve at larger magnetic fields they seem to right 180 degrees to reverse.”

The channels on the chip were wide enough to allow the bacteria to move and students indicated they “dance” to music, as they show in a playful video. The experiment is part of a study of applications of magnetic controllable bacteria or particles in microfluidics. In time, this technique should be able to lead to, for example, drugs can be delivered into the body at a specific place.


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