Self-sufficient self-oscillating microsystem driven by low power at low Reynolds numbers
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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.