High performance wash-free magnetic bioassays through microfluidically enhanced particle specificity

Daniel J.B. Bechstein, Jung Rok Lee, Chin Chun Ooi, Adi W. Gani, Kyunglok Kim, Robert J. Wilson, Shan X. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Magnetic biosensors have emerged as a sensitive and versatile platform for high performance medical diagnostics. These magnetic biosensors require well-tailored magnetic particles as detection probes, which need to give rise to a large and specific biological signal while showing very low nonspecific binding. This is especially important in wash-free bioassay protocols, which do not require removal of particles before measurement, often a necessity in point of care diagnostics. Here we show that magnetic interactions between magnetic particles and magnetized sensors dramatically impact particle transport and magnetic adhesion to the sensor surfaces. We investigate the dynamics of magnetic particles' biomolecular binding and magnetic adhesion to the sensor surface using microfluidic experiments. We elucidate how flow forces can inhibit magnetic adhesion, greatly diminishing or even eliminating nonspecific signals in wash-free magnetic bioassays, and enhancing signal to noise ratios by several orders of magnitude. Our method is useful for selecting and optimizing magnetic particles for a wide range of magnetic sensor platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11693
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Physical Science Oncology Center (U54CA143907), Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (U54CA151459), and BioSTAR through the Stanford Bio-X program. DJBB acknowledges a Stanford Bio-X Graduate Fellowship. SEM images were acquired at the Stanford Nano Shared Facilities. Microfluidic chips were fabricated at the Stanford Microfluidic Foundry. The authors would like to thank Stephanie Cone for troubleshooting microfluidic chips and Junyi Wang for generating calibration data of GMR sensors.


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