Separation of two attractive ferromagnetic ellipsoidal particles by hydrodynamic interactions under alternating magnetic field
AbstractIn applications where magnetic particles are used to detect and dose targeted molecules, it is of major importance to prevent particle clustering and aggregation during the capture stage in order to maximize the capture rate. Elongated ferromagnetic particles can be more interesting than spherical ones due to their large magnetic moment, which facilitates their separation by magnets or the detection by optical measurement of their orientation relaxation time. Under alternating magnetic field, the rotational dynamics of elongated ferromagnetic particles results from the balance between magnetic torque that tends to align the particle axis with the field direction and viscous torque. As for their translational motion, it results from a competition between direct magnetic particle-particle interactions and solvent-flow-mediated hydrodynamic interactions. Due to particle anisotropy, this may lead to intricate translation-rotation couplings. Using numerical simulations and theoretical modeling of the system, we show that two ellipsoidal magnetic particles, initially in a head-to-tail attractive configuration resulting from their remnant magnetization, can repel each other due to hydrodynamic interactions when alternating field is operated. The separation takes place in a range of low frequencies fc1<f<fc2. The upper frequency limit fc2τr≈0.04 (where τr is the rotation time scale) depends weakly on the ratio of magnetic field to particle magnetization strength, whereas fc1 tends to zero when this ratio increases.