Anti-Biofouling and Self-Cleaning Surfaces Featured with Magnetic Artificial Cilia

Zhang, S., Zuo, P., Wang, Y., Onck, P. R. & den Toonder, J. M. J., 17-Jun-2020, In : ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 12, 24, p. 27726–27736

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

The fouling of surfaces submerged in a liquid is a serious problem for many applications including lab-on-a-chip devices and marine sensors. Inspired by the versatility of cilia in manipulating fluids and particles, it is experimentally demonstrated for the first time that surfaces partially covered with magnetic artificial cilia (MAC) have the capacity to efficiently prevent the attachment and adhesion of real biofouling agents - microalgae Scenedesmus sp.. Actuation of the MAC resulted in over 99% removal of the algae for two different scenarios: (1) actuating the MAC immediately after injecting the algae into a microfluidic chip, demonstrating antifouling; and (2) starting to actuate the MAC one week after injecting the algae into the chip and leaving them to grow in static conditions, showing self-cleaning. It is shown that the local and global flow generated by the actuated MAC are substantial, resulting in hydrodynamic shear forces acting on the algae, which are likely to be key to efficient antifouling and self-cleaning. These findings and insights will potentially lead to novel types of self-cleaning and antifouling strategies, which may have relevant practical impact on different fields and applications including lab-on-a-chip devices and water quality analyzers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27726–27736
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number24
Early online date1-Jun-2020
Publication statusPublished - 17-Jun-2020

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