This paper introduces a new design for individually controlled magnetic artificial cilia for use in fluid devices and specifically intended to improve the mixing in DNA microarray experiments. The design has been implemented using a low-cost prototype that can be fabricated using polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and off-the-shelf parts and achieves large cilium deflections (59% of the cilium length). The device's performance is measured via a series of mixing experiments using different actuation patterns inspired by the blinking vortex theory. The experimental results, quantified using the relative standard deviation of the color when mixing two colored inks, show that exploiting the individual control leads to faster mixing (38% reduction in mixing time) than when operating the device in a simultaneous-actuation mode with the same average cilium beat frequency. Furthermore, the experimental results show an optimal beating pattern that minimizes the mixing time. The existence and character of this optimum is predicted by simulations using a blinking-vortex approach for 2D ideal flow, suggesting that the blinking-vortex model can be used to predict the effect of parameter variation on the experimental system.

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