Shape-programmed 3D printed swimming microtori for the transport of passive and active agents

Image Caption: 
Transport of cargo particles by a self-propelled 3D printed torus.

Remmi Baker1, Thomas Montenegro-Johnson2, Anton D. Sediako3, Murray J. Thomson3, Ayusman Sen4, Eric Lauga5 & Igor S. Aronson4,6 (Nature Communications, 2019) 1Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Pennsylvania State University,2School of Mathematics, University of Birmingham, UK, 3Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada, 4Department of Chemistry, Pennsylvania State University, 5Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, UK, 6Department of Biomedical  Engineering, Pennsylvania State University.


A MRSEC team programed multi-behavioral responses in microscopic self-propelled tori using nanoscale 3D printing, showing experimentally and theoretically that the tori continuously transition between two primary swimming modes in response to a magnetic field. The tori also manipulated and transported other artificial swimmers, bimetallic nanorods, as well as passive colloidal particles. In the first behavioral mode, the tori accumulated and transported nanorods; in the second mode, nanorods aligned along the toriʼs self-generated streamlines. Our results indicate that such shape-programmed microswimmershave a potential to manipulate biological active matter such as bacteria or cells.

Year of Research Highlight: 
IRG2 - Nanomotors