Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)

Strong ferromagnetically-coupled spin valve sensor devices for droplet magnetofluidics.

PMID 26024419


We report a magnetofluidic device with integrated strong ferromagnetically-coupled and hysteresis-free spin valve sensors for dynamic monitoring of ferrofluid droplets in microfluidics. The strong ferromagnetic coupling between the free layer and the pinned layer of spin valve sensors is achieved by reducing the spacer thickness, while the hysteresis of the free layer is eliminated by the interplay between shape anisotropy and the strength of coupling. The increased ferromagnetic coupling field up to the remarkable 70 Oe, which is five-times larger than conventional solutions, brings key advantages for dynamic sensing, e.g., a larger biasing field giving rise to larger detection signals, facilitating the operation of devices without saturation of the sensors. Studies on the fundamental effects of an external magnetic field on the evolution of the shape of droplets, as enabled by the non-visual monitoring capability of the device, provides crucial information for future development of a magnetofluidic device for multiplexed assays.

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