Browsing by Author "Medina-Sánchez, Mariana"
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- ItemA Rotating Spiral Micromotor for Noninvasive Zygote Transfer(Hoboke, NJ : Wiley, 2020) Schwarz, Lukas; Karnaushenko, Dmitriy D.; Hebenstreit, Franziska; Naumann, Ronald; Schmidt, Oliver G.; Medina-Sánchez, MarianaEmbryo transfer (ET) is a decisive step in the in vitro fertilization process. In most cases, the embryo is transferred to the uterus after several days of in vitro culture. Although studies have identified the beneficial effects of ET on proper embryo development in the earlier stages, this strategy is compromised by the necessity to transfer early embryos (zygotes) back to the fallopian tube instead of the uterus, which requires a more invasive, laparoscopic procedure, termed zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT). Magnetic micromotors offer the possibility to mitigate such surgical interventions, as they have the potential to transport and deliver cellular cargo such as zygotes through the uterus and fallopian tube noninvasively, actuated by an externally applied rotating magnetic field. This study presents the capture, transport, and release of bovine and murine zygotes using two types of magnetic micropropellers, helix and spiral. Although helices represent an established micromotor architecture, spirals surpass them in terms of motion performance and with their ability to reliably capture and secure the cargo during both motion and transfer between different environments. Herein, this is demonstrated with murine oocytes/zygotes as the cargo; this is the first step toward the application of noninvasive, magnetic micromotor‐assisted ZIFT.
- ItemAdvanced Hybrid GaN/ZnO Nanoarchitectured Microtubes for Fluorescent Micromotors Driven by UV Light(Weinheim : Wiley-VCH, 2020) Wolff, Niklas; Ciobanu, Vladimir; Enachi, Mihail; Kamp, Marius; Braniste, Tudor; Duppel, Viola; Shree, Sindu; Raevschi, Simion; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Adelung, Rainer; Schmidt, Oliver G.; Kienle, Lorenz; Tiginyanu, IonThe development of functional microstructures with designed hierarchical and complex morphologies and large free active surfaces offers new potential for improvement of the pristine microstructures properties by the synergistic combination of microscopic as well as nanoscopic effects. In this contribution, dedicated methods of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) including tomography are used to characterize the complex hierarchically structured hybrid GaN/ZnO:Au microtubes containing a dense nanowire network on their interior. The presence of an epitaxially stabilized and chemically extremely stable ultrathin layer of ZnO on the inner wall of the produced GaN microtubes is evidenced. Gold nanoparticles initially trigger the catalytic growth of solid solution phase (Ga1– xZnx)(N1– xOx) nanowires into the interior space of the microtube, which are found to be terminated by AuGa-alloy nanodots coated in a shell of amorphous GaOx species after the hydride vapor phase epitaxy process. The structural characterization suggests that this hierarchical design of GaN/ZnO microtubes could offer the potential to exhibit improved photocatalytic properties, which are initially demonstrated under UV light irradiation. As a proof of concept, the produced microtubes are used as photocatalytic micromotors in the presence of hydrogen peroxide solution with luminescent properties, which are appealing for future environmental applications and active matter fundamental studies. © 2019 The Authors. Published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
- ItemBlood platelet enrichment in mass-producible surface acoustic wave (SAW) driven microfluidic chips(Cambridge : RSC, 2019) Richard, Cynthia; Fakhfouri, Armaghan; Colditz, Melanie; Striggow, Friedrich; Kronstein-Wiedemann, Romy; Tonn, Torsten; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Schmidt, Oliver G.; Gemming, Thomas; Winkler, AndreasThe ability to separate specific biological components from cell suspensions is indispensable for liquid biopsies, and for personalized diagnostics and therapy. This paper describes an advanced surface acoustic wave (SAW) based device designed for the enrichment of platelets (PLTs) from a dispersion of PLTs and red blood cells (RBCs) at whole blood concentrations, opening new possibilities for diverse applications involving cell manipulation with high throughput. The device is made of patterned SU-8 photoresist that is lithographically defined on the wafer scale with a new proposed methodology. The blood cells are initially focused and subsequently separated by an acoustic radiation force (ARF) applied through standing SAWs (SSAWs). By means of flow cytometric analysis, the PLT concentration factor was found to be 7.7, and it was proven that the PLTs maintain their initial state. A substantially higher cell throughput and considerably lower applied powers than comparable devices from literature were achieved. In addition, fully coupled 3D numerical simulations based on SAW wave field measurements were carried out to anticipate the coupling of the wave field into the fluid, and to obtain the resulting pressure field. A comparison to the acoustically simpler case of PDMS channel walls is given. The simulated results show an ideal match to the experimental observations and offer the first insights into the acoustic behavior of SU-8 as channel wall material. The proposed device is compatible with current (Lab-on-a-Chip) microfabrication techniques allowing for mass-scale, reproducible chip manufacturing which is crucial to push the technology from lab-based to real-world applications. © The Royal Society of Chemistry.
- ItemDual Ultrasound and Photoacoustic Tracking of Magnetically Driven Micromotors: From In Vitro to In Vivo(Weinheim : Wiley-VCH, 2021) Aziz, Azaam; Holthof, Joost; Meyer, Sandra; Schmidt, Oliver G.; Medina-Sánchez, MarianaThe fast evolution of medical micro- and nanorobots in the endeavor to perform non-invasive medical operations in living organisms has boosted the use of diverse medical imaging techniques in the last years. Among those techniques, photoacoustic imaging (PAI), considered a functional technique, has shown to be promising for the visualization of micromotors in deep tissue with high spatiotemporal resolution as it possesses the molecular specificity of optical methods and the penetration depth of ultrasound. However, the precise maneuvering and function's control of medical micromotors, in particular in living organisms, require both anatomical and functional imaging feedback. Therefore, herein, the use of high-frequency ultrasound and PAI is reported to obtain anatomical and molecular information, respectively, of magnetically-driven micromotors in vitro and under ex vivo tissues. Furthermore, the steerability of the micromotors is demonstrated by the action of an external magnetic field into the uterus and bladder of living mice in real-time, being able to discriminate the micromotors’ signal from one of the endogenous chromophores by multispectral analysis. Finally, the successful loading and release of a model cargo by the micromotors toward non-invasive in vivo medical interventions is demonstrated. © 2021 The Authors. Advanced Healthcare Materials published by Wiley-VCH GmbH
- ItemElectronically integrated microcatheters based on self-assembling polymer films(Washington : American Association for the Advancement of Science (A A A S), 2021) Rivkin, Boris; Becker, Christian; Singh, Balram; Aziz, Azaam; Akbar, Farzin; Egunov, Aleksandr; Karnaushenko, Dmitriy D; Naumann, Ronald; Schäfer, Rudolf; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Karnaushenko, Daniil; Schmidt, Oliver GExisting electronically integrated catheters rely on the manual assembly of separate components to integrate sensing and actuation capabilities. This strongly impedes their miniaturization and further integration. Here, we report an electronically integrated self-assembled microcatheter. Electronic components for sensing and actuation are embedded into the catheter wall through the self-assembly of photolithographically processed polymer thin films. With a diameter of only about 0.1 mm, the catheter integrates actuated digits for manipulation and a magnetic sensor for navigation and is capable of targeted delivery of liquids. Fundamental functionalities are demonstrated and evaluated with artificial model environments and ex vivo tissue. Using the integrated magnetic sensor, we develop a strategy for the magnetic tracking of medical tools that facilitates basic navigation with a high resolution below 0.1 mm. These highly flexible and microsized integrated catheters might expand the boundary of minimally invasive surgery and lead to new biomedical applications. Copyright © 2021 The Authors, some rights reserved.
- ItemEngineering microrobots for targeted cancer therapies from a medical perspective(Berlin : Springer Nature, 2020) Schmidt, Christine K.; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Edmondson, Richard J.; Schmidt, Oliver G.Systemic chemotherapy remains the backbone of many cancer treatments. Due to its untargeted nature and the severe side effects it can cause, numerous nanomedicine approaches have been developed to overcome these issues. However, targeted delivery of therapeutics remains challenging. Engineering microrobots is increasingly receiving attention in this regard. Their functionalities, particularly their motility, allow microrobots to penetrate tissues and reach cancers more efficiently. Here, we highlight how different microrobots, ranging from tailor-made motile bacteria and tiny bubble-propelled microengines to hybrid spermbots, can be engineered to integrate sophisticated features optimised for precision-targeting of a wide range of cancers. Towards this, we highlight the importance of integrating clinicians, the public and cancer patients early on in the development of these novel technologies.
- ItemExperimental observation of Berry phases in optical Möbius-strip microcavities(London [u.a.] : Nature Publ. Group, 2022) Wang, Jiawei; Valligatla, Sreeramulu; Yin, Yin; Schwarz, Lukas; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Baunack, Stefan; Lee, Ching Hua; Thomale, Ronny; Li, Shilong; Fomin, Vladimir M.; Ma, Libo; Schmidt, Oliver G.The Möbius strip, a fascinating loop structure with one-sided topology, provides a rich playground for manipulating the non-trivial topological behaviour of spinning particles, such as electrons, polaritons and photons, in both real and parameter spaces. For photons resonating in a Möbius-strip cavity, the occurrence of an extra phase—known as the Berry phase—with purely topological origin is expected due to its non-trivial evolution in parameter space. However, despite numerous theoretical investigations, characterizing the optical Berry phase in a Möbius-strip cavity has remained elusive. Here we report the experimental observation of the Berry phase generated in optical Möbius-strip microcavities. In contrast to theoretical predictions in optical, electronic and magnetic Möbius-topology systems where only Berry phase π occurs, we demonstrate that a variable Berry phase smaller than π can be acquired by generating elliptical polarization of resonating light. Möbius-strip microcavities as integrable and Berry-phase-programmable optical systems are of great interest in topological physics and emerging classical or quantum photonic applications.
- ItemHuman spermbots for patient-representative 3D ovarian cancer cell treatment(Cambridge : RSC Publ., 2020) Xu, Haifeng; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Zhang, Wunan; Seaton, Melanie P. H.; Brison, Daniel R.; Edmondson, Richard J.; Taylor, Stephen S.; Nelson, Louisa; Zeng, Kang; Bagley, Steven; Ribeiro, Carla; Restrepo, Lina P.; Lucena, Elkin; Schmidt, Christine K.; Schmidt, Oliver G.Cellular micromotors are attractive for locally delivering high concentrations of drug, and targeting hard-to-reach disease sites such as cervical cancer and early ovarian cancer lesions by non-invasive means. Spermatozoa are highly efficient micromotors perfectly adapted to traveling up the female reproductive system. Indeed, bovine sperm-based micromotors have shown potential to carry drugs toward gynecological cancers. However, due to major differences in the molecular make-up of bovine and human sperm, a key translational bottleneck for bringing this technology closer to the clinic is to transfer this concept to human material. Here, we successfully load human sperm with Doxorubicin (DOX) and perform treatment of 3D cervical cancer and patient-representative ovarian cancer cell cultures, resulting in strong anticancer cell effects. Additionally, we define the subcellular localization of the chemotherapeutic drug within human sperm, using high-resolution optical microscopy. We also assess drug effects on sperm motility and viability over time, employing sperm samples from healthy donors as well as assisted reproduction patients. Finally, we demonstrate guidance and release of human drug-loaded sperm onto cancer tissues using magnetic microcaps, and show the sperm microcap loaded with a second anticancer drug, camptothecin (CPT), which unlike DOX is not suitable for directly loading into sperm due to its hydrophobic nature. This co-drug delivery approach opens up novel targeted combinatorial drug therapies for future applications. © 2020 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
- ItemImpedimetric Microfluidic Sensor-in-a-Tube for Label-Free Immune Cell Analysis(Weinheim : Wiley-VCH, 2021) Egunov, Aleksandr I.; Dou, Zehua; Karnaushenko, Dmitriy D.; Hebenstreit, Franziska; Kretschmann, Nicole; Akgün, Katja; Ziemssen, Tjalf; Karnaushenko, Daniil; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Schmidt, Oliver G.Analytical platforms based on impedance spectroscopy are promising for non-invasive and label-free analysis of single cells as well as of their extracellular matrix, being essential to understand cell function in the presence of certain diseases. Here, an innovative rolled-up impedimetric microfulidic sensor, called sensor-in-a-tube, is introduced for the simultaneous analysis of single human monocytes CD14+ and their extracellular medium upon liposaccharides (LPS)-mediated activation. In particular, rolled-up platinum microelectrodes are integrated within for the static and dynamic (in-flow) detection of cells and their surrounding medium (containing expressed cytokines) over an excitation frequency range from 102 to 5 × 106 Hz. The correspondence between cell activation stages and the electrical properties of the cell surrounding medium have been detected by electrical impedance spectroscopy in dynamic mode without employing electrode surface functionalization or labeling. The designed sensor-in-a-tube platform is shown as a sensitive and reliable tool for precise single cell analysis toward immune-deficient diseases diagnosis.
- ItemIRONSperm: Sperm-templated soft magnetic microrobots(Washington, DC : American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2020) Magdanz, Veronika; Khalil, Islam S.M.; Simmchen, Juliane; Furtado, Guilherme P.; Mohanty, Sumit; Gebauer, Johannes; Xu, Haifeng; Klingner, Anke; Aziz, Azaam; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Schmidt, Oliver G.; Misra, SarthakWe develop biohybrid magnetic microrobots by electrostatic self-assembly of nonmotile sperm cells and magnetic nanoparticles. Incorporating a biological entity into microrobots entails many functional advantages beyond shape templating, such as the facile uptake of chemotherapeutic agents to achieve targeted drug delivery. We present a single-step electrostatic self-assembly technique to fabricate IRONSperms, soft magnetic microswimmers that emulate the motion of motile sperm cells. Our experiments and theoretical predictions show that the swimming speed of IRONSperms exceeds 0.2 body length/s (6.8 ± 4.1 µm/s) at an actuation frequency of 8 Hz and precision angle of 45°. We demonstrate that the nanoparticle coating increases the acoustic impedance of the sperm cells and enables localization of clusters of IRONSperm using ultrasound feedback. We also confirm the biocompatibility and drug loading ability of these microrobots, and their promise as biocompatible, controllable, and detectable biohybrid tools for in vivo targeted therapy.
- ItemMagnetofluidic platform for multidimensional magnetic and optical barcoding of droplets(Cambridge : RSC, 2014) Lin, Gungun; Makarov, Denys; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Guix, Maria; Baraban, Larysa; Cuniberti, Gianaurelio; Schmidt, Oliver G.We present a concept of multidimensional magnetic and optical barcoding of droplets based on a magnetofluidic platform. The platform comprises multiple functional areas, such as an encoding area, an encoded droplet pool and a magnetic decoding area with integrated giant magnetoresistive (GMR) sensors. To prove this concept, penicillin functionalized with fluorescent dyes is coencapsulated with magnetic nanoparticles into droplets. While fluorescent dyes are used as conventional optical barcodes which are decoded with an optical decoding setup, an additional dimensionality of barcodes is created by using magnetic nanoparticles as magnetic barcodes for individual droplets and integrated micro-patterned GMR sensors as the corresponding magnetic decoding devices. The strategy of incorporating a magnetic encoding scheme provides a dynamic range of ~40 dB in addition to that of the optical method. When combined with magnetic barcodes, the encoding capacity can be increased by more than 1 order of magnitude compared with using only optical barcodes, that is, the magnetic platform provides more than 10 unique magnetic codes in addition to each optical barcode. Besides being a unique magnetic functional element for droplet microfluidics, the platform is capable of on-demand facile magnetic encoding and real-time decoding of droplets which paves the way for the development of novel non-optical encoding schemes for highly multiplexed droplet-based biological assays.
- ItemMedical Imaging of Microrobots: Toward In Vivo Applications(Washington, DC : American Chemical Society, 2020) Aziz, Azaam; Pane, Stefano; Iacovacci, Veronica; Koukourakis, Nektarios; Czarske, Jürgen; Menciassi, Arianna; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Schmidt, Oliver GMedical microrobots (MRs) have been demonstrated for a variety of non-invasive biomedical applications, such as tissue engineering, drug delivery, and assisted fertilization, among others. However, most of these demonstrations have been carried out in in vitro settings and under optical microscopy, being significantly different from the clinical practice. Thus, medical imaging techniques are required for localizing and tracking such tiny therapeutic machines when used in medical-relevant applications. This review aims at analyzing the state of the art of microrobots imaging by critically discussing the potentialities and limitations of the techniques employed in this field. Moreover, the physics and the working principle behind each analyzed imaging strategy, the spatiotemporal resolution, and the penetration depth are thoroughly discussed. The paper deals with the suitability of each imaging technique for tracking single or swarms of MRs and discusses the scenarios where contrast or imaging agent's inclusion is required, either to absorb, emit, or reflect a determined physical signal detected by an external system. Finally, the review highlights the existing challenges and perspective solutions which could be promising for future in vivo applications.
- ItemMicromotor-mediated sperm constrictions for improved swimming performance(Berlin ; Heidelberg : Springer, 2021) Striggow, Friedrich; Nadporozhskaia, Lidiia; Friedrich, Benjamin M.; Schmidt, Oliver G.; Medina-Sánchez, MarianaSperm-driven micromotors, consisting of a single sperm cell captured in a microcap, utilize the strong propulsion generated by the flagellar beat of motile spermatozoa for locomotion. It enables the movement of such micromotors in biological media, while being steered remotely by means of an external magnetic field. The substantial decrease in swimming speed, caused by the additional hydrodynamic load of the microcap, limits the applicability of sperm-based micromotors. Therefore, to improve the performance of such micromotors, we first investigate the effects of additional cargo on the flagellar beat of spermatozoa. We designed two different kinds of microcaps, which each result in different load responses of the flagellar beat. As an additional design feature, we constrain rotational degrees of freedom of the cell’s motion by modifying the inner cavity of the cap. Particularly, cell rolling is substantially reduced by tightly locking the sperm head inside the microcap. Likewise, cell yawing is decreased by aligning the micromotors under an external static magnetic field. The observed differences in swimming speed of different micromotors are not so much a direct consequence of hydrodynamic effects, but rather stem from changes in flagellar bending waves, hence are an indirect effect. Our work serves as proof-of-principle that the optimal design of microcaps is key for the development of efficient sperm-driven micromotors.
- ItemNano-biosupercapacitors enable autarkic sensor operation in blood([London] : Nature Publishing Group UK, 2021) Lee, Yeji; Bandari, Vineeth Kumar; Li, Zhe; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Maitz, Manfred F.; Karnaushenko, Daniil; Tsurkan, Mikhail V; Karnaushenko, Dmitriy D.; Schmidt, Oliver G.Today’s smallest energy storage devices for in-vivo applications are larger than 3 mm3 and lack the ability to continuously drive the complex functions of smart dust electronic and microrobotic systems. Here, we create a tubular biosupercapacitor occupying a mere volume of 1/1000 mm3 (=1 nanoliter), yet delivering up to 1.6 V in blood. The tubular geometry of this nano-biosupercapacitor provides efficient self-protection against external forces from pulsating blood or muscle contraction. Redox enzymes and living cells, naturally present in blood boost the performance of the device by 40% and help to solve the self-discharging problem persistently encountered by miniaturized supercapacitors. At full capacity, the nano-biosupercapacitors drive a complex integrated sensor system to measure the pH-value in blood. This demonstration opens up opportunities for next generation intravascular implants and microrobotic systems operating in hard-to-reach small spaces deep inside the human body.
- ItemNanomaterial-decorated micromotors for enhanced photoacoustic imaging(Berlin ; Heidelberg : Springer, 2023) Aziz, Azaam; Nauber, Richard; Sánchez Iglesias, Ana; Tang, Min; Ma, Libo; Liz-Marzán, Luis M.; Schmidt, Oliver G.; Medina-Sánchez, MarianaMicro-and nanorobots have the potential to perform non-invasive drug delivery, sensing, and surgery in living organisms, with the aid of diverse medical imaging techniques. To perform such actions, microrobots require high spatiotemporal resolution tracking with real-time closed-loop feedback. To that end, photoacoustic imaging has appeared as a promising technique for imaging microrobots in deep tissue with higher molecular specificity and contrast. Here, we present different strategies to track magnetically-driven micromotors with improved contrast and specificity using dedicated contrast agents (Au nanorods and nanostars). Furthermore, we discuss the possibility of improving the light absorption properties of the employed nanomaterials considering possible light scattering and coupling to the underlying metal-oxide layers on the micromotor’s surface. For that, 2D COMSOL simulation and experimental results were correlated, confirming that an increased spacing between the Au-nanostructures and the increase of thickness of the underlying oxide layer lead to enhanced light absorption and preservation of the characteristic absorption peak. These characteristics are important when visualizing the micromotors in a complex in vivo environment, to distinguish them from the light absorption properties of the surrounding natural chromophores.
- ItemReal-Time IR Tracking of Single Reflective Micromotors through Scattering Tissues(Weinheim : Wiley-VCH, 2019) Aziz, Azaam; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Koukourakis, Nektarios; Wang, Jiawei; Kuschmierz, Robert; Radner, Hannes; Czarske, Jürgen W.; Schmidt, Oliver G.Medical micromotors have the potential to lead to a paradigm shift in future biomedicine, as they may perform active drug delivery, microsurgery, tissue engineering, or assisted fertilization in a minimally invasive manner. However, the translation to clinical treatment is challenging, as many applications of single or few micromotors require real-time tracking and control at high spatiotemporal resolution in deep tissue. Although optical techniques are a popular choice for this task, absorption and strong light scattering lead to a pronounced decrease of the signal-to-noise ratio with increasing penetration depth. Here, a highly reflective micromotor is introduced which reflects more than tenfold the light intensity of simple gold particles and can be precisely navigated by external magnetic fields. A customized optical IR imaging setup and an image correlation technique are implemented to track single micromotors in real-time and label-free underneath phantom and ex vivo mouse skull tissues. As a potential application, the micromotors speed is recorded when moving through different viscous fluids to determine the viscosity of diverse physiological fluids toward remote cardiovascular disease diagnosis. Moreover, the micromotors are loaded with a model drug to demonstrate their cargo-transport capability. The proposed reflective micromotor is suitable as theranostic tool for sub-skin or organ-on-a-chip applications. © 2019 The Authors. Published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
- ItemSelf-sufficient self-oscillating microsystem driven by low power at low Reynolds numbers(Washington, DC [u.a.] : American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2021) Akbar, Farzin; Rivkin, Boris; Aziz, Azaam; Becker, Christian; Karnaushenko, Dmitriy D.; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Karnaushenko, Daniil; Schmidt, Oliver G.Oscillations at several hertz are a key feature of dynamic behavior of various biological entities, such as the pulsating heart, firing neurons, or the sperm-beating flagellum. Inspired by nature’s fundamental self-oscillations, we use electroactive polymer microactuators and three-dimensional microswitches to create a synthetic electromechanical parametric relaxation oscillator (EMPRO) that relies on the shape change of micropatterned polypyrrole and generates a rhythmic motion at biologically relevant stroke frequencies of up to ~95 Hz. We incorporate an Ag-Mg electrochemical battery into the EMPRO for autonomous operation in a nontoxic environment. Such a self-sufficient self-oscillating microsystem offers new opportunities for artificial life at low Reynolds numbers by, for instance, mimicking and replacing nature’s propulsion and pumping units.
- ItemShape-Controlled Flexible Microelectronics Facilitated by Integrated Sensors and Conductive Polymer Actuators(Weinheim : Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, 2021) Rivkin, Boris; Becker, Christian; Akbar, Farzin; Ravishankar, Rachappa; Karnaushenko, Dmitriy; Naumann, Ronald; Mirhajivarzaneh, Aaleh; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Karnaushenko, Daniil; Schmidt, Oliver G.The next generation of biomedical tools requires reshapeable electronics to closely interface with biological tissues. This will offer unique mechanical properties and the ability to conform to irregular geometries while being robust and lightweight. Such devices can be achieved with soft materials and thin-film structures that are able to reshape on demand. However, reshaping at the submillimeter scale remains a challenging task. Herein, shape-controlled microscale devices are demonstrated that integrate electronic sensors and electroactive polymer actuators. The fast and biocompatible actuators are capable of actively reshaping the device into flat or curved geometries. The curvature and position of the devices are monitored with strain or magnetic sensors. The sensor signals are used in a closed feedback loop to control the actuators. The devices are wafer-scale microfabricated resulting in multiple functional units capable of grasping, holding, and releasing biological tissues, as demonstrated with a neuronal bundle.
- ItemSmall Scale Propulsion: How Systematic Studies of Low Reynolds Number Physics Can Bring Micro/Nanomachines to New Horizons(Wilmington DE: Scientific Archives LLC, 2022) Wrede, Paul; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Fomin, Vladimir M.Micromachines are small-scale human-made machines with remarkable potential for medical treatments, microrobotics and environmental remediation applications. However, meaningful real-world applications are missing. This is mainly caused by their small size leading to unintuitive physics of motion. Motivated by the aim of understanding the fundamental physics at the micrometer scale and thereby overcoming resulting challenges, we discuss the importance of robust models supported by experimental data. Our previously performed study on the switching in propulsion mechanisms for conical tubular catalytic micromotors will be summarized and serve as an example for discussion. We emphasize on the need for systematic experimental studies to enable the design of highly application-oriented micromachines, which can be translated into real-world scenarios.
- ItemSperm Micromotors for Cargo Delivery through Flowing Blood(Washington, DC : American Chemical Society, 2020) Xu, Haifeng; Medina-Sánchez, Mariana; Maitz, Manfred F.; Werner, Carsten; Schmidt, Oliver G.Micromotors are recognized as promising candidates for untethered micromanipulation and targeted cargo delivery in complex biological environments. However, their feasibility in the circulatory system has been limited due to the low thrust force exhibited by many of the reported synthetic micromotors, which is not sufficient to overcome the high flow and complex composition of blood. Here we present a hybrid sperm micromotor that can actively swim against flowing blood (continuous and pulsatile) and perform the function of heparin cargo delivery. In this biohybrid system, the sperm flagellum provides a high propulsion force while the synthetic microstructure serves for magnetic guidance and cargo transport. Moreover, single sperm micromotors can assemble into a train-like carrier after magnetization, allowing the transport of multiple sperm or medical cargoes to the area of interest, serving as potential anticoagulant agents to treat blood clots or other diseases in the circulatory system.