14 March 2016 Photonics walking up a human hair
Author Affiliations +
While animals have access to sugars as energy source, this option is generally not available to artificial machines and robots. Energy delivery is thus the bottleneck for creating independent robots and machines, especially on micro- and nano- meter length scales. We have found a way to produce polymeric nano-structures with local control over the molecular alignment, which allowed us to solve the above issue. By using a combination of polymers, of which part is optically sensitive, we can create complex functional structures with nanometer accuracy, responsive to light. In particular, this allowed us to realize a structure that can move autonomously over surfaces (it can “walk”) using the environmental light as its energy source. The robot is only 60 μm in total length, thereby smaller than any known terrestrial walking species, and it is capable of random, directional walking and rotating on different dry surfaces.
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Hao Zeng, Hao Zeng, Camilla Parmeggiani, Camilla Parmeggiani, Daniele Martella, Daniele Martella, Piotr Wasylczyk, Piotr Wasylczyk, Matteo Burresi, Matteo Burresi, Diederik S. Wiersma, Diederik S. Wiersma, } "Photonics walking up a human hair", Proc. SPIE 9759, Advanced Fabrication Technologies for Micro/Nano Optics and Photonics IX, 97590Y (14 March 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2214601; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2214601

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