Micro-factories could utilize 'peanut' particles propelled by light and steered by magnets

11/08/2013 - 00:00

One of the main components of a factory is the robots that transport and assemble objects of varying shapes and sizes. When scaling down to the micro level, the steel and wiring that these robots are made of must be replaced by something else—one new idea is peanut-shaped particles that are propelled with light and steered by magnetic fields.

As demonstrated in a new study by researchers at New York University, these colloidal particles can act as "shepherds" that can carry flocks of cargo several times their own size. The work could not only open up new possibilities for designing complex micro-sized factories, but could also have applications in creating micro-sized biomimetic systems such as artificial muscles.