The microfish are a proof-of-concept of a new generation of “smart” micro-robots that can perform a range of tasks such as detoxification and directed drug delivery,
“We have developed an entirely new method to engineer nature-inspired microscopic swimmers that have complex geometric structures and are smaller than the width of a human hair,” said the co-first author Wei Zhu, a nanoengineering PhD student.
“With this method, we can easily integrate different functions inside these tiny robotic swimmers for a broad spectrum of applications.”
The fabrication technique has numerous improvements over previous methods. Nanoengineers installed platinum nanoparticles in the tails, which react with hydrogen peroxide to propel the microfish forward, and magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles in the heads, which allowed them to be steered with magnets.
The research, led by Professors Shaochen Chen and Joseph Wang of the NanoEngineering Department at the UC San Diego, was published in the journal Advanced Materials.
Originally published by Cosmos as Smart micro-robot fish could revolutionise drug delivery systems
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.