Manipulation and confinement of single particles using fluid flow

Melikhan Tanyeri, Charles M. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High precision control of micro- and nanoscale objects in aqueous media is an essential technology for nanoscience and engineering. Existing methods for particle trapping primarily depend on optical, magnetic, electrokinetic, and acoustic fields. In this work, we report a new hydrodynamic flow based approach that allows for fine-scale manipulation and positioning of single micro- and nanoscale particles using automated fluid flow. As a proof-of-concept, we demonstrate trapping and two-dimensional (2D) manipulation of 500 nm and 2.2 μm diameter particles with a positioning precision as small as 180 nm during confinement. By adjusting a single flow parameter, we further show that the shape of the effective trap potential can be efficiently controlled. Finally, we demonstrate two distinct features of the flow-based trapping method, including isolation of a single particle from a crowded particle solution and active control over the surrounding medium of a trapped object. The 2D flow-based trapping method described here further expands the micro/nanomanipulation toolbox for small particles and holds strong promise for applications in biology, chemistry, and materials research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2357-2364
Number of pages8
JournalNano letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 12 2013


  • Micro- and nanomanipulation
  • hydrodynamic trap
  • microfluidics
  • trapping
  • tweezers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering

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