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High-Throughput Fabrication of Soft Microrobots

Yimo Yan and Chao Song from the Schürle-Finke and deMello groups at ETH Zürich have developed a versatile, high-throughput technique for fabricating soft microrobots with structural and magnetic anisotropy, using simulation-guided design and droplet-based microfluidics. The researchers were able to produce microrobots consisting of iron oxide nanoparticles organized into supradomain structures and entrapped in a hydrogel matrix. These microrobots exhibited distinct collective behaviors, including gas-like, variable crystal, stable crystal, and heterogeneous motions when subjected to rotating magnetic fields.

The introduction and control of anisotropy into soft microrobots expands the possibilities for tailoring and predetermining interactions and collective behaviors. Both experimental and simulation data highlighted the critical role of magnetic anisotropy in governing collective dynamics of soft microrobots, enabling a deeper understanding of their behavior and control mechanisms. Significantly, the study also emphasized the potential of the method in practical applications, such as drug delivery and biomedical interventions, by demonstrating the programming of microrobot swarms.

Written by Junyue Chen

Read the published article here.

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