Undulatory Locomotion of Magnetic Multilink Nanoswimmers

Nano Lett. 2015 Jul 8;15(7):4829-33. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b01981. Epub 2015 Jun 4.


Micro- and nanorobots operating in low Reynolds number fluid environments require specialized swimming strategies for efficient locomotion. Prior research has focused on designs mimicking the rotary corkscrew motion of bacterial flagella or the planar beating motion of eukaryotic flagella. These biologically inspired designs are typically of uniform construction along their flagellar axis. This work demonstrates for the first time planar undulations of composite multilink nanowire-based chains (diameter 200 nm) induced by a planar-oscillating magnetic field. Those chains comprise an elastic eukaryote-like polypyrrole tail and rigid magnetic nickel links connected by flexible polymer bilayer hinges. The multilink design exhibits a high swimming efficiency. Furthermore, the manufacturing process enables tuning the geometrical and material properties to specific applications.

Keywords: 1-, 2-, and 3-Link nanoswimmers; nanowires; planar oscillating magnetic field; undulatory locomotion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't