Scientists have been conducting research on micrometre-sized actuators which one day may make it possible to transport drugs or chemical sensor molecules to specific locations throughout the human body. Researchers at ETH Zurich have now taken the development of such micro-devices a crucial step forward:
a new production technology and new materials have made it possible to manufacture tiny actuators in any form and optimise them for future applications (“Superparamagnetic Twist-Type Actuators with Shape-Independent Magnetic Properties and Surface Functionalization for Advanced Biomedical Applications”).
The elongated actuators elements, which can move through liquids, possess a helical shape and are magnetic. They are driven by an external rotating magnetic field; they align themselves along the magnetic field lines and rotate about their longitudinal axis. Due to their helical shape, they are able to swim forward through liquids. … (Read more)