Contactless Magnetic Couplings For Microfluidic Devices (No. 0114)

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The emergence of microfluidics-based 3D cell culture systems, such as organ-on-a-chip platforms, the rising demand for point-of-care testing and expanding applications of drug delivery technologies offer significant growth opportunities for players operating in the microfluidics market. However, there are certain challenges in incorporating microfluidics technology, such as pumps, into existing workflows. Specifically, it is difficult to fabricate micropumps that are simple, compact, leak-free and inexpensive. Here we present a promising magnetic coupling device developed by a group of researchers led by Prof. Elliot Fried. The device is based on a novel arrangement of magnets.


Lead Researcher:
Eliot Fried

Faculty of Mechanics and Materials Unit


  • Microfluidic pump
  • Nautical propulsion



  • Simple construction
  • Minimal space
  • Flexible geometries
  • Leak free

     Click on the images to enlarge


The technology is a novel rotary magnetic coupling based on individual dipoles. The geometry of the magnetic coupling differs from conventional axial and end-face magnetic couplings. In a pump arrangement, one magnet is placed within a pipe with fluid, while the other two magnets are uniquely positioned outside the pipe. As the two outer magnets rotate, a corresponding rotation is provided to the magnet in the pipe to move fluid. This arrangement preserves the non-contact operation of conventional magnetic couplings and additionally provides a simple design with a smooth transmission which results in a constant fluid flow rate if incorporated into a microfluidic pump.


Media Coverage and Presentations

 JST Technology Showcase Presentation (EN and JP)

 JST Technology Showcase Presentation Slides (JP only)



  Graham Garner
Technology Licensing Section