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Design and Numerical Modeling of an On-Board Chemical Release Module for Motion Control of Bacteria-Propelled Swimming Micro-Robots

[+] Author Affiliations
Bahareh Behkam, Amrinder S. Nain, Metin Sitti

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Cristina H. Amon

University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Paper No. IMECE2008-68032, pp. 239-244; 6 pages
  • ASME 2008 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 2: Biomedical and Biotechnology Engineering
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, October 31–November 6, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4863-0 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3840-2
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


On/off motion control of bacteria-propelled synthetic bodies was previously achieved using a chemical switching technique. A chemical agent (CuSO4 ) directly binds to the rotor of the flagellar motor inhibiting it. When desired, a second chemical agent (EDTA) is introduced, which binds to the CuSO4 molecules, freeing the motor and allowing the bacteria to resume its motion [1]. To facilitate localized delivery of the control agents and reduce the diffusion time, we propose an on-board chemical release scheme for the first time. The proposed microfluidic motion control module contains two sets of optomechanically responsive nanocomposite paraffin wax micro-valves which can be independently actuated. To demonstrate the feasibility of the concept, a transient two-dimensional mass transfer numerical model is developed and the transient concentration profiles of the diffused chemicals at different locations on the robot body is studied. The results of this work provide crucial information required to determine the number, size, and location of the required micro-valves.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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