Micro-rocket robot with all-optic actuating and tracking in blood

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Original languageEnglish
Article number84
Number of pages10
Journal / PublicationLight: Science and Applications
Online published11 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020



Micro/nanorobots have long been expected to reach all parts of the human body through blood vessels for medical treatment or surgery. However, in the current stage, it is still challenging to drive a microrobot in viscous media at high speed and difficult to observe the shape and position of a single microrobot once it enters the bloodstream. Here, we propose a new micro-rocket robot and an all-optic driving and imaging system that can actuate and track it in blood with microscale resolution. To achieve a high driving force, we engineer the microrobot to have a rocket-like triple-tube structure. Owing to the interface design, the 3D-printed micro-rocket can reach a moving speed of 2.8 mm/s (62 body lengths per second) under near-infrared light actuation in a blood-mimicking viscous glycerol solution. We also show that the micro-rocket robot is successfully tracked at a 3.2-µm resolution with an optical-resolution photoacoustic microscope in blood. This work paves the way for microrobot design, actuation, and tracking in the blood environment, which may broaden the scope of microrobotic applications in the biomedical field.

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