Microscopic swimming devices hold promise for radically new applications in lab-on-a-chip and microfluidic technology, including diagnostics and drug delivery. In this paper, we realize a macroscopic single particle ferromagnetic swimmer experimentally and investigate its swimming properties. The flagella-based swimmer is comprised of a hard ferromagnetic head attached to a flexible tail. We investigate the dynamic performance of the swimmer on the air-liquid interface as a function of the external magnetic field parameters (frequency and amplitude of an applied magnetic field). We show that the speed of the swimmer can be controlled by manipulating the strength and frequency of the external magnetic field (<3.5 mT) and that the propagation direction has a dependence on parameters of the external magnetic field. The experimental results are compared to a theoretical model based on three beads, one of which having a fixed magnetic moment and the other two non-magnetic, connected via elastic filaments. The model shows sufficient complexity to satisfy the “non-reciprocity” condition and gives good agreement with experiment. Via a simple conversion, we also demonstrate a fluid pump and investigate the induced flow. This investigation paves the way to the fabrication of such swimmers and fluid pump systems on a micro-scale, promising a variety of microfluidic applications.

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