Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract We observed that particles, suspended in an electrolyte and brought into crossed magnetic and electric fields of low intensities, will deviate in the central part of the electrophoresis chamber of a standard Zeiss Cytopherometer with a component vertical to both fields. The direction and magnitude, however, were sharply at variance with what would be expected by the action of the Lorentz force (EMF) on the surface of the particles. The magnitude of the deviation depends upon the magnetic and electric field strength, the ion concentration of the suspension medium and the geometry of the chamber. The movement of the particles is due to streaming of the electrolyte which is mainly caused by inhomogeneities of the electric field in the electrophoresis chamber. The magnitude of the effect is high enough to occur under physiological conditions. Magneto-electrophoretic streaming might eventually act as a transducer mechanism which could explain the ability of some animals to orientate themselves in the geomagnetic field.
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