Single-Domain Multiferroic Array-Addressable Terfenol-D (SMArT) Micromagnets for Programmable Single-Cell Capture and Release

Adv Mater. 2021 May;33(20):e2006651. doi: 10.1002/adma.202006651. Epub 2021 Apr 8.


Programming magnetic fields with microscale control can enable automation at the scale of single cells ≈10 µm. Most magnetic materials provide a consistent magnetic field over time but the direction or field strength at the microscale is not easily modulated. However, magnetostrictive materials, when coupled with ferroelectric material (i.e., strain-mediated multiferroics), can undergo magnetization reorientation due to voltage-induced strain, promising refined control of magnetization at the micrometer-scale. This work demonstrates the largest single-domain microstructures (20 µm) of Terfenol-D (Tb0.3 Dy0.7 Fe1.92 ), a material that has the highest magnetostrictive strain of any known soft magnetoelastic material. These Terfenol-D microstructures enable controlled localization of magnetic beads with sub-micrometer precision. Magnetically labeled cells are captured by the field gradients generated from the single-domain microstructures without an external magnetic field. The magnetic state on these microstructures is switched through voltage-induced strain, as a result of the strain-mediated converse magnetoelectric effect, to release individual cells using a multiferroic approach. These electronically addressable micromagnets pave the way for parallelized multiferroics-based single-cell sorting under digital control for biotechnology applications.

Keywords: Terfenol-D; magnetoelastic materials; multiferroics; single-cell separation; single-domain materials.

MeSH terms

  • Magnetic Fields*