Hydrogel microrobots actuated by optically generated vapour bubbles

Lab Chip. 2012 Oct 7;12(19):3821-6. doi: 10.1039/c2lc40483d.


A novel hydrogel microrobot made of poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) is reported. This disk-shaped microrobot is optothermally actuated by laser-induced bubbles. A pulsed laser is used to smoothly actuate an 80-μm-diameter bubble microrobot at up to 320 μm s(-1). A single microrobot or a pair of microrobots working in cooperation were used to assemble 20-μm-diameter polystyrene beads into different patterns. The microrobots were also used to assemble patterns made of single yeast cells and cell-laden agarose microgels. The patterned yeast cells and cell-laden microgels were cultured, and the cells successfully multiplied.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Gases / chemistry*
  • Gels / chemistry
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate / chemistry*
  • Lasers
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry
  • Polystyrenes / chemistry
  • Robotics / instrumentation*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology


  • Gases
  • Gels
  • Polystyrenes
  • poly(ethylene glycol)diacrylate
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate
  • Polyethylene Glycols