3D-Printed Microfish Can Serve As Toxin Sensors

Posted: Aug 27 2015, 4:32am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

3D-Printed Microfish can Serve as Toxin Sensors
3-D-printed microfish contain functional nanoparticles that enable them to be self-propelled, chemically powered and magnetically steered. The microfish are also capable of removing and sensing toxins. CREDIT: J. Warner, UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering
  • Minute 3D Printed Robotic Fish can soon be injected into your body

Minute 3D printed robotic fish contain nanoparticles and can work wonders.

Nanotechnology is a cutting edge industry. And 3D printing has produced robotic fish that are microscopic. They can release nanoparticles once they enter the bloodstream. These microfish can hurry and scurry in a fluid environment.

They are chemo-energized by hydrogen peroxide. And magnets guide them. The microfish are to function as smart nano-robots. They will aid in detox programs, remote sensing and medicinal provision.

This method using microfish is a much better solution. That is to many problems than other schemes. And the microfish employ better means of transport. These include such instruments as microjet engines, microdrillers and microrockets.

The research, led by Professors Shaochen Chen and Joseph Wang of the NanoEngineering Department at the UC San Diego, was published in the Aug. 12 issue of the journal Advanced Materials.

The design of the microfish is so simple that it almost seems unbelievable on first sight. It consists of spheres and cylinders. As for the composition, it is evenly spaced and inorganic. The methodology of mass producing these microfish is evolving with the times.

Their very existence is proof. That is of different genres such as 3D printing and robotic nanotechnology. They can be combined with excellent results. The nanoparticles were inserted with ease into the robotic fish bodies. These nanoparticles were made of platinum and were introduced into the tails.

These nanoparticles caused propulsion in a solution of hydrogen peroxide. And magnetic iron oxide particles were put in the heads of the microfish. This further aided locomotion. Thus this is a feat of natural engineering. It seeks inspiration from Mother Nature.

"We have developed an entirely new method to engineer nature-inspired microscopic swimmers that have complex geometric structures and are smaller than the width of a human hair. With this method, we can easily integrate different functions inside these tiny robotic swimmers for a broad spectrum of applications," said the co-first author Wei Zhu, a nanoengineering Ph.D. student in Chen's research group at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego.

The field of nano-engineering has produced mobile particles. They are smaller than the point of a pin. And the good thing is these microfish can serve various functions. Among these may be included toxin neutralization.

Polydiacetylene (PDA) nanoparticles were introduced into the microfish. These captured the harmful toxins found in bee venom. The nanoparticles also emitted florescent red light when they binded with the bee venom.

The fact that the florescent red light also acted as a sensor was good news indeed. This sensing capability showed that two birds could be killed with one stone.

"The neat thing about this experiment is that it shows how the microfish can doubly serve as detoxification systems and as toxin sensors," said Zhu.

"Another exciting possibility we could explore is to encapsulate medicines inside the microfish and use them for directed drug delivery," said Jinxing Li, the other co-first author of the study and a nanoengineering Ph.D. student in Wang's research group.

Furthermore, medicines could be put within the microfish in capsule form. These drugs could then be delivered with efficiency and deftness. The 3D printing method used in producing the microfish is called microscale continuous optical printing.

And it does not employ dangerous chemicals. The microfish design employs shark and manta ray shapes. These are the simplest and most efficacious and they get the job done.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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