Tweezing of Magnetic and Non-Magnetic Objects with Magnetic Fields

Jaakko V I Timonen, Bartosz A. Grzybowski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Although strong magnetic fields cannot be conveniently "focused" like light, modern microfabrication techniques enable preparation of microstructures with which the field gradients - and resulting magnetic forces - can be localized to very small dimensions. This ability provides the foundation for magnetic tweezers which in their classical variant can address magnetic targets. More recently, the so-called negative magnetophoretic tweezers have also been developed which enable trapping and manipulations of completely nonmagnetic particles provided that they are suspended in a high-magnetic-susceptibility liquid. These two modes of magnetic tweezing are complimentary techniques tailorable for different types of applications. This Progress Report provides the theoretical basis for both modalities and illustrates their specific uses ranging from the manipulation of colloids in 2D and 3D, to trapping of living cells, control of cell function, experiments with single molecules, and more.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1603516
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Magnetic tweezing
  • Magnetofluidic tweezing
  • Microfabrication
  • Paramagnetic solutions
  • Self-assembly


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