We’ve said it before, but we’re taking a cautious look at any absolute claims that come our way. It always seems that claims of “the fastest in the world” or “the first in the world” are debunked quickly. “Smallest seat in the world” Supported by a tugboat of more than twenty Coli He’ll struggle to find space, we’re very comfortable with that.
Of course, the minuscule standard was not just printed for it, but rather as part of a rendering of what is possible with “micro-swimmers,” which are synthetic particles designed to move freely in microscopic systems. As shown in Paper it out [Rachel P. Doherty] Et al From the Soft Matter Physics Laboratory at Leiden University, micro-swimmers in sizes from 10 to 20 μm can be generated repeatedly, and may include a small area of platinum catalyst. A catalyst is a swimmer’s precise drive. Hydrogen peroxide in the environment decomposes on the surface of the catalyst and provides a driving force.
Synthetic micro-swimmers have been around for a while, but most are made by chemical or evaporative methods that result in simple shapes such as rods and spheres. The current work describes more complex shapes – the bench seat was a bit flexible, with the most useful micro-swimmers being simple spirals, which essentially attach themselves to the surrounding fluid. The printing method was based on two-photon polymerization (2PP), a non-linear optical process that polymerizes the resin when two photons are absorbed simultaneously.
The idea that a very small powered machine can be designed and built is very cool. We would like to see how controls can be added to publications – MicrofluidicProbably?