Stokes trap: flow-based manipulation of particles and molecules
The ability to confine and manipulate single particles and molecules has revolutionized several fields of science, with common methods including optical traps and magnetic tweezers. Automated flow control offers an attractive method for particle manipulation without the need for optical, electric, acoustic, or magnetic fields. Our group developed the Stokes trap, which is a new method for trapping and manipulating small particles using only fluid flow. The Stokes trap allows for precise control over the center-of-mass position, orientation, and trajectories for multiple particles using only fluid flow. We are using this technique for the fluidic-directed assembly of particles in solution, and we are further studying the dynamics of soft materials such as lipid vesicles, polymersomes, and collision and adhesion events for membrane-bound vesicles. From a broad perspective, this technique opens new vistas for fundamental studies of particle-particle interactions and provides a new method for the directed assembly of colloidal particles.
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