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Controllable Microfluidic Fabrication of Magnetic Hybrid Microswimmers with Hollow Helical Structures

Tang, Meng-Jiao, Wang, Wei, Li, Zhi-Lu, Liu, Zi-Ming, Guo, Zhi-Yu, Tian, Hua-Yu, Liu, Zhuang, Ju, Xiao-Jie, Xie, Rui, Chu, Liang-Yin
Industrial & engineering chemistry process design and development 2018 v.57 no.29 pp. 9430-9438
calcium alginate, encapsulation, iron oxides, locomotion, magnetic materials, magnetism, nanoparticles, process design, silica, strength (mechanics), transportation
Controllable magnetic hybrid microswimmers with hollow helical structures are fabricated, by a facile strategy based on microfluidic template synthesis and biosilicification, to achieve enhanced rotation-based locomotion for cargo transport. The magnetic hybrid microswimmers are fabricated by first synthesizing Fe₃O₄-nanoparticles-containing helical Ca-alginate microfibers from microfluidics, followed with biosilicification and controllable dicing to engineer their rigid hollow helical structures. The microswimmers show hollow helical structures consisting of a rigid, biocompatible alginate/protamine/silica shell embedded with Fe₃O₄ nanoparticles. Their helical structures can be engineered into open tubular structures or closed compartmental structures by using microfibers or diced microfibers as templates for biosilicification. Powered by a simple rotating magnet, the microswimmers can achieve enhanced rotation-based locomotion and provide good mechanical strength for supporting cargo for transportation. This work provides a simple and efficient strategy for fabricating controllable magnetic hybrid microswimmers with hollow helical structures to achieve enhanced rotation-based locomotion for cargo transport, encapsulation, and delivery.