Shape-programmed 3D printed swimming microtori for the transport of passive and active agents.

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Montenegro-Johnson, Thomas 

Through billions of years of evolution, microorganisms mastered unique swimming behaviors to thrive in complex fluid environments. Limitations in nanofabrication have thus far hindered the ability to design and program synthetic swimmers with the same abilities. Here we encode multi-behavioral responses in microscopic self-propelled tori using nanoscale 3D printing. We show experimentally and theoretically that the tori continuously transition between two primary swimming modes in response to a magnetic field. The tori also manipulated and transported other artificial swimmers, bimetallic nanorods, as well as passive colloidal particles. In the first behavioral mode, the tori accumulated and transported nanorods; in the second mode, nanorods aligned along the tori's self-generated streamlines. Our results indicate that such shape-programmed microswimmers have a potential to manipulate biological active matter, e.g. bacteria or cells.

Colloids, Computer-Aided Design, Magnetic Fields, Nanostructures, Nanotubes, Nickel, Platinum, Printing, Three-Dimensional, Swimming
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Nat Commun
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
European Research Council (682754)