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Artificial cilia could someday power diagnostic devices

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Cilia are a hard-working pioneer of the body.These fine hairs, which move fluids with a rhythmic heartbeat, play a pushing role. Cerebrospinal fluid In the brain, it removes sputum and dirt from the lungs and keeps other organs and tissues clean.

Cilia, a technical wonder, have proven difficult to reproduce in engineering applications, especially on a microscale.

Cornell researchers have designed a micro-sized artificial cilia system using platinum-based components that can control fluid movement on such a scale. This technology could one day enable a low-cost portable diagnostic device for testing blood samples, manipulating cells, or assisting in microfabrication processes.

Group paper, “Ciliated metasurface for electronically programmable microfluidic manipulation, ”Was published in Nature on May 25th. The lead author is Wei Wang, a PhD student.

“There are many ways to make artificial cilia that respond to light, magnetic force, or electrostatic force,” says Wang. “But we are the first to demonstrate individually controlled artificial cilia using the new nanoactuators.”

A typical device contains a “carpet” of about 1000 artificial cilia. As the voltage of each cilia vibrates, its surface periodically oxidizes and diminishes, causing the cilia to bend back and forth, pumping out tens of microns of liquid per second.

The project led by the lead author of the paper is ItaikoenProfessor of Physics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, built a platinum-based electric actuator (part of a moving device) and his group Previously created Allows minute robots to walk. The leg mechanism of these bending bots is similar, but the functions and uses of the ciliary system are different and very flexible.

“I’m showing here that if you can deal with these cilia individually, you can manipulate the flow as you like. You can create multiple individual trajectories, create circular flows, and transport. You can create it, or split it into two paths and rejoin it. You can get the flow line in 3D. Anything is possible. “

“It was very difficult to use existing platforms to create cilia that are small, underwater, electrically addressable, and integrated with interesting electronics,” Cohen said. “This system solves these problems, and we want to use this kind of platform to develop the next wave of microfluidic manipulation devices.”

A typical device consists of 16 square units, an array of 8 cilia per unit, and a chip containing 8 cilia per array, each cilia being approximately 50 micrometers in length and approximately 1,000. It becomes the “carpet” of artificial cilia. As the voltage of each cilia vibrates, its surface periodically oxidizes and diminishes, causing the cilia to bend back and forth, pumping out tens of microns of liquid per second. The various arrays can be activated individually, allowing you to create endless combinations of flow patterns that mimic the flexibility observed in biological counterparts.

As a bonus, the team created a ciliated device with a complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) clock circuit. This is the essential electronic “brain” that operates the cilia without being tied to traditional computer systems. This opens the door to developing a large number of low-cost diagnostic tests that can be run in the field.

“In the future, we can imagine people taking this little centimeter-by-centimeter device and putting a drop of blood in it to do all the analysis,” Cohen said. “You don’t have to have a flashy pump, you don’t need any equipment. It literally works just by putting it in the sun. It can cost as much as $ 1 to $ 10.”

Co-authors include postdoctoral fellows Qingkun Liu and Michael Reynolds. Former Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Alejandro Cortese ’19 and Marc Miskin; Michael Cao ’14, Ph.D. ’20; David MullerSamuel B. Eckert, Professor of Engineering. Alyosha MornerAssociate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Paul McEwan, John A. Newman, Professor of Physical Sciences. Ivan Tanasijevic and Eric Lauga from the University of Cambridge.

Research is mainly conducted by the Army Laboratory, the National Science Foundation, Cornell Materials Research CenterIt is supported by the NSF’s MRSEC program, the Air Force Science Research Office, and the Kavli Institute at Cornell University’s Nanoscale Science Institute.

Part of the work Cornell NanoScale Scientific Technology Facility..

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