Magnetic tweezers for intracellular applications
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We have designed and constructed a versatile magnetic tweezer primarily for intracellular investigations. The micromanipulator uses only two coils to simultaneously magnetize to saturation micron-size superparamagnetic particles and generate high magnitude constant field gradients over cellular dimensions. The apparatus resembles a miniaturized Faraday balance, an industrial device used to measure magnetic susceptibility. The device operates in both continuous and pulse modes. Due to its compact size, the tweezers can conveniently be mounted on the stage of an inverted microscope and used for intracellular manipulations. A built-in temperature control unit maintains the sample at physiological temperatures. The operation of the tweezers was tested by moving 1.28 μm diameter magnetic beads inside macrophages with forces near 500 pN.
Rev. Sci. Instrum. 74, 4158 (2003)