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Cooperative Self-Assembled Magnetic Micropaddles at Liquid Surfaces

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posted on 14.09.2021, 22:03 by Yuanzhe He, Lefeng Wang, Kai Yang, Xi Wang, Weibin Rong, Lining Sun
Cooperative controls of magnetic microswimmers are desired for complex micromanipulation and microassembly tasks. Self-assembled magnetic micropaddles as microswimmers that can locomote freely and cooperate at liquid surfaces are proposed inspired by the paddling motion. The micropaddles are self-assembled with metallic disks under a rotating magnetic field, and they are endowed with controlled propulsion in the precessing field. The micropaddles can locomote freely with a maximum speed of approximately 3.3 mm/s and manipulate objects at the liquid surface. It is found that the micropaddles reverse moving directions at high frequencies and that those with different lengths can locomote in opposite directions under the same precessing magnetic field. Based on the distinctive motion properties, not only could several micropaddles combine into the longer ones but a single micropaddle could also be disassembled into two cooperative partners. Assemblies of different parts based on their cooperation are realized in this study, which is challenging for other types of magnetic microswimmers. Micropaddles with adjustable length, flexible locomotion, and cooperative capability present a promising avenue for various micromanipulation applications.