Micromachines are minute devices comprised of multiple submicron components that allow the transfer of applied energy into movement,. This process in turn allows micro-scale mechnical processes to occur. Micromachines are growing in prominence across a wide range of fields, including microfluidics and microrobotics.
Development and operation of micromachines requires a technique called optoelectronic tweezers (OET). OET is a optofluidic micromanipulation technology that relies on light-induced dielectrophoresis (DEP) to produce topographic micropatterns (TMPs), such as gears and rack-and-pinion mechanisms.
Dr. Zhang, along with colleagues Adam Wheeler’s group at the University of Toronto, recently published two new papers outlining significant advances in OET-induced micromachine components, using Mightex’s Polygon1000. The first of these papers outlines the patterned photostimulation system necessary to produce the TMPs and to preserve them in hydrogel. This system is reliant upon the Mightex Polygon to accurately and reliably project a high-resolution patterns in different wavelengths of light, as can be seen below:
The second of these papers showcases the exciting capabilities of this system to drive 3 different types of microdevice components. The work demonstrates the versatility and applicability of OET-driven TMPs for a wide range of fields including microfluidics and microrobotics. One example of the micro-components developed and demonstrated by Dr. Zhang and colleagues is the touchless micro-feed roller:
This work holds significant promise as a source of subcomponents for future micromachines across a wide array of fields and applications. Congratulations Dr. Zhang and colleagues!
If you are interested if the work featured here, please find the links to the papers below to read more:
Integrated Assembly and Photopreservation of Topographical Micropatterns – Zhang, S., Li, W., Elsayed, M., Peng, J., Chen, Y., Zhang, Y., … & Wheeler, A. R. (2021).
Reconfigurable multi-component micromachines driven by optoelectronic tweezers – Zhang, S., Elsayed, M., Peng, R., Chen, Y., Zhang, Y., Peng, J., … & Wheeler, A. R. (2021).
Research Focus written by Mightex Applications Neuroscientist, Dr. Catherine Thomas.
Images from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-25582-8 ; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/smll.202103702?casa_token=ReVS5p7DboAAAAAA:eQOpGwDCKLb4-evOkApcVNN1BPd-gbsXypdx8PedpFeyjXqniQXqbgp1eK_XOP5JKo2Sjm_Bzb3CNWxR