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Conference Paper

Locomotion of light-driven soft microrobots through a hydrogel via local melting


Fischer,  Peer
Optical Nanoscopy, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Palagi, S., Mark, A. G., Melde, K., Qiu, T., Zeng, H., Parmeggiani, C., et al. (2017). Locomotion of light-driven soft microrobots through a hydrogel via local melting. In 2017 International Conference on Manipulation, Automation and Robotics at Small Scales (MARSS) (pp. 1-5). Piscataway, NJ, USA: IEEE.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-21BB-D
Soft mobile microrobots whose deformation can be directly controlled by an external field can adapt to move in different environments. This is the case for the light-driven microrobots based on liquid-crystal elastomers (LCEs). Here we show that the soft microrobots can move through an agarose hydrogel by means of light-controlled travelling-wave motions. This is achieved by exploiting the inherent rise of the LCE temperature above the melting temperature of the agarose gel, which facilitates penetration of the microrobot through the hydrogel. The locomotion performance is investigated as a function of the travelling-wave parameters, showing that effective propulsion can be obtained by adapting the generated motion to the specific environmental conditions.