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Materials Research Institute



Online Seminar 'Magnetic Small-Scale Robots' with Professor Salvador Pané, ETH Zürich

Image: Professor Salvador Pané
Professor Salvador Pané

Date: 16 June 2021   Time: 15:00 - 16:00

We are delighted to welcome Professor Salvador Pané , Senior Research Scientist at the Multi-Scale Robotics Lab, Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, ETH Zürich. His talk is on 'Magnetic Small-Scale Robots'. The talk is in MS Teams

Abstract: We live in a world increasingly surrounded by robots such as robotic surgical systems, flying drones, autonomous planetary rovers, and robotic appliances. An emerging family of robotic systems are untethered micro- and nanorobots. These tiny vehicles can move either by harvesting chemical fuels present in their swimming environments or by means of external energy sources. One of the ultimate goals of small-scale robotics is to develop machines that can deliver drugs, or realize other medical missions in confined spaces of the human body. Other applications include water remediation or "on-the-fly" chemistry. The recent rapid developments in small-scale robotics is undeniably related to advances in material science and manufacturing. However, while many applications have been demonstrated, aspects such as complex locomotion, multifunctionality, biocompatibility and biodegradability need to be further investigated for the successful translation of these devices to real applications. To this end, new material-based concepts and novel fabrication schemes are urgently required.

Electrochemical processing techniques have played a significant role in the development of materials for small-scale robotics. Electroless, electroforming, electrodeposition and anodization – to name a few – have been widely used as batch manufacturing approaches for the fabrication of micro- and nanorobots. In this talk, I will introduce some of our latest developments in small-scale robotics using electrochemical processing techniques. Particularly, I will show how 3D printed microtemplates can be exploited to produce complex robotic microstructures made of electrodeposited rigid metals, soft polymers and combinations of these. As a result, topologically complex metal-organic structures can be realized with sub-micrometric resolution. I will also demonstrate that metal-organic interlocked micromachines can solve several practical challenges in small-scale robotics. We will show that high magnetic responsiveness, drug loading capabilities, biocompatibility, on-demand shape transformation, and multi-locomotion modes can be embedded in a single microrobotic machine.

Location:  Online Seminar

Updated by: Colin J Rainey