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Arrays of nickel posts were used as magnetic elements in a microfiltration device that is compatible with microfluidic systems. The combination of microtransfer molding—a soft lithography technique—and electrodeposition generated nickel posts ∼7 μm in height and ∼15 μm in diameter inside a microfluidic channel. Once magnetized by a magnetic field from an external, permanent, neodymium–iron–boron magnet, these nickel posts generated strong magnetic field gradients and efficiently trapped superparamagnetic beads moving past them in a flowing stream of water. These nickel post arrays were also used to separate magnetic beads from nonmagnetic beads. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.