Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Komaee, Arash


The development of new techniques for control of magnetic objects by external magnetic fields has been in constant improvement. These advancements range from the design and fabrication of magnetic nanoparticles to design and control of actuators that enable their manipulation. The ability to guide such magnetic objects at a distance without any direct mechanical contact is an attractive feature with great potential in medical applications. Magnetic fields are not distorted by their interaction with nonmagnetic materials, like those in the human body; and pose no harm to living tissues, which make them convenient tools for minimally invasive techniques and treatments. Moreover, several actuator configurations have been proposed to achieve the remote motion of a magnetic particle or magnetic fluids. Arrays of electromagnets have been widely utilized due to their lack of mechanical parts and flexibility to accurately and rapidly change their magnetic field by controlling the current through their coils. However, they are relatively weak for their size and electrical power, making them inefficient for medical applications which need large magnetic forces at relatively long distances. On the other hand, permanent magnets have a much higher strength-to-size ratio than electromagnets and allow for control from larger distances. The disadvantage is that their magnetic fields cannot be turned off and a mechanical actuator is needed to modify their position and orientation to change their field. In this work, a magnetic manipulator used as a testbed to manipulate a magnetic bead is designed. It consists of an array of six diametrically magnetized cylindrical permanent magnets evenly spaced around a petri dish, following the work in [11]. Servomotors are utilized to precisely adjust the direction of the magnets according to a control law developed by other researchers in the past. A monochromatic camera located above the petri dish provides the feedback on the position of the bead and a set of hall-effect sensors provides the location of the poles of the magnets. The dynamics of the system is modeled by a linearized set of state-space equations where the magnetic field is estimated with an analytical expression for the geometry of the magnets. The testbed has been designed with the CAD software SolidWorks and its structure has been completely 3D printed with polylactic acid (PLA) filament. The design is tested under different speeds of the servomotors and initial orientations of the magnets. Some recommendations are presented at the end for improvement and considerations for future designs.

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