Detection of membrane-bound and soluble antigens by magnetic levitation

Lab Chip. 2017 Oct 11;17(20):3462-3473. doi: 10.1039/c7lc00402h.


Magnetic levitation is a technique for measuring the density and the magnetic properties of objects suspended in a paramagnetic field. We describe a novel magnetic levitation-based method that can specifically detect cell membrane-bound and soluble antigens by measurable changes in levitation height that result from the formation of antibody-coated bead and antigen complex. We demonstrate our method's ability to sensitively detect an array of membrane-bound and soluble antigens found in blood, including T-cell antigen CD3, eosinophil antigen Siglec-8, red blood cell antigens CD35 and RhD, red blood cell-bound Epstein-Barr viral particles, and soluble IL-6, and validate the results by flow cytometry and immunofluorescence microscopy performed in parallel. Additionally, employing an inexpensive, single lens, manual focus, wifi-enabled camera, we extend the portability of our method for its potential use as a point-of-care diagnostic assay.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Surface / analysis*
  • Antigens, Surface / chemistry
  • Antigens, Viral / chemistry
  • Blood Cells / chemistry
  • Blood Cells / cytology
  • Flow Cytometry / instrumentation
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Immunomagnetic Separation / instrumentation
  • Immunomagnetic Separation / methods*
  • Interleukin-6 / analysis
  • Interleukin-6 / chemistry
  • Mobile Applications
  • Smartphone


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Interleukin-6