Micro Magnetic Tweezers for Nanomanipulation Inside Live Cells

A.H.B. de Vries, Bea E. Krenn, Roel van Driel, Johannes S. Kanger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

171 Citations (Scopus)
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This study reports the design, realization, and characterization of a multi-pole magnetic tweezers that enables us to maneuver small magnetic probes inside living cells. So far, magnetic tweezers can be divided into two categories: I), tweezers that allow the exertion of high forces but consist of only one or two poles and therefore are capable of only exerting forces in one direction; and II), tweezers that consist of multiple poles and allow exertion of forces in multiple directions but at very low forces. The magnetic tweezers described here combines both aspects in a single apparatus: high forces in a controllable direction. To this end, micron scale magnetic structures are fabricated using cleanroom technologies. With these tweezers, magnetic flux gradients of B = 8 × 103 T m−1 can be achieved over the dimensions of a single cell. This allows exertion of forces up to 12 pN on paramagnetic probes with a diameter of 350 nm, enabling us to maneuver them through the cytoplasm of a living cell. It is expected that with the current tweezers, picoNewton forces can be exerted on beads as small as 100 nm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2137-2144
Number of pages8
JournalBiophysical journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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