Magnetically Driven Micro and Nanorobots
Huaijuan Zhou(University of Chemistry and Technology Prague)
Czech | 2021 American Chemical Society

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2021 American Chemical Society



■ Researchers

Huaijuan Zhou, Carmen C. Mayorga-Martinez, Salvador Pané, Martin Pumera*

Center for Advanced Functional Nanorobots, Department of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, Czech

Salvador Pané

Multi-Scale Robotics Lab (MSRL), Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS), ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Li Zhang

Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China



■ Abstract

Manipulation and navigation of micro and nanoswimmers in different fluid environments can be achieved by chemicals, external fields, or even motile cells. Many researchers have selected magnetic fields as the active external actuation source based on the advantageous features of this actuation strategy such as remote and spatiotemporal control, fuel-free, high degree of reconfigurability, programmability, recyclability, and versatility. This review introduces fundamental concepts and advantages of magnetic micro/nanorobots (termed here as “MagRobots”) as well as basic knowledge of magnetic fields and magnetic materials, setups for magnetic manipulation, magnetic field configurations, and symmetry-breaking strategies for effective movement. These concepts are discussed to describe the interactions between micro/nanorobots and magnetic fields. Actuation mechanisms of flagella-inspired MagRobots (i.e., corkscrew-like motion and traveling-wave locomotion/ciliary stroke motion) and surface walkers (i.e., surface-assisted motion), applications of magnetic fields in other propulsion approaches, and magnetic stimulation of micro/nanorobots beyond motion are provided followed by fabrication techniques for (quasi-)spherical, helical, flexible, wire-like, and biohybrid MagRobots. Applications of MagRobots in targeted drug/gene delivery, cell manipulation, minimally invasive surgery, biopsy, biofilm disruption/eradication, imaging-guided delivery/therapy/surgery, pollution removal for environmental remediation, and (bio)sensing are also reviewed. Finally, current challenges and future perspectives for the development of magnetically powered miniaturized motors are discussed.


  • Fluids
  • Magnetic properties
  • Magnetic materials
  • Nanoparticles
  • Oscillation
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