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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S001425/1
Title: Light Actuated Microrobots
Principal Investigator: Nezhad, Dr M
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Electronics
Organisation: Bangor University
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship - NHFP
Starts: 25 June 2018 Ends: 24 June 2021 Value (£): 630,326
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Bioelectronic Devices Robotics & Autonomy
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 May 2018 EPSRC UKRI CL Innovation Fellowship Interview Panel 2 - 8 and 9 May 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Micron-scale robotics is a nascent and exciting area of research that is currently experiencing considerably increased attention by the robotics, microengineering and bioengineering communities. Historically, the creation and control of minute

biomimetic structures capable of tethered or untethered movement has been the subject of works of fiction, a prominent example being the 1966 film/novel Fantastic Voyage, in which a microscale submarine is launched into a patient's blood

circulation system in order to operate on a blood clot. Farfetched as this may have seemed at the time, the tremendous advances in microtechnology since that time have made the fabrication of swarms of such micro-structures on a single

semiconductor chip a reality. A major driving motivation behind this research is the creation of artificial entities on the same size scale as biological organisms. This will lead to the development of microscale tools for numerous applications in

experimental cell biology such as cell sorting, manipulation, surgery and targeted drug delivery. These tools are expected to be advantageous compared to standard pipetting techniques currently being used. In addition, such microrobots can be used to manipulate nearfield imaging devices (such as microlenses) for nanoscale microscopy and imaging. Another interesting application of microbots is for fabrication of 3D functional materials and tissue engineering.

Operating at such small dimensions (a few hundred microns and smaller) is extremely challenging and will require the development of unique manufacturing, sensing, actuation and control tools and paradigms specific to the micro-scale

robotics arena. A major challenge in all microrobotic devices is the delivery of actuation energy to the microrobot. While efficient power delivery to any microscale robot is no small feat, this is exacerbated if the microrobot is to operate in an

untethered manner. An effective approach for actuation of a microrobot is to use the energy of a light beam. Laser light has been used since the 1970s for mechanical control of small particles, for example in optical tweezers and optical traps. However, the energy of photons in a laser beam can also be utilised directly to create mechanical motion, with the potential for higher energy conversion efficiencies. This fellowship award will support the development of novel light-driven microrobots that will be able to walk on a flat surface and perform simple manipulation tasks at the microscale.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
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Organisation Website: http://www.bangor.ac.uk