A team of physicists from the Netherlands has printed a microscopic version of the starship Voyager from Star Trek. The device helped to understand the behavior of micro-floats in liquid.
The miniature Voyager, which is 0.015 mm long, is part of a project by researchers at Leiden University. They want to understand how shape affects the movement and interaction of the micro-swimmers.
Micro-melters are small particles that can independently penetrate into a liquid, interacting with the environment through chemical reactions. The platinum coating on them reacts to the hydrogen peroxide solution in which they are placed and which passes them through the liquid.
“By studying synthetic devices, we wanted to understand their biological properties,” the researchers note. “This understanding could help in the development of new drug delivery vehicles using microrobots that work autonomously and understand which part of the body they should arrive at.”
The researchers believe that studying the movement of synthetic micro-swimmers will help to better understand their work and study possible analogs. In the future, this will allow the development of a detailed scheme for the point delivery of drugs into the patient’s body using microscopic objects of various shapes. But it is already clear that such a complex shape of objects is better suited for experiments than traditional spheres and cylinders.
In their project, physicists also printed other forms of objects – boats and helicopters. They noticed that the shape of each object significantly affects their behavior in the liquid.