Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

3D-microdevice for minimally invasive surgeries

03.05.2017

Scientists take challenge of developing functional microdevices for direct access to the brain, spinal cord, eye and other delicate parts of human body

A tiny robot that gets into the human body through the simple medical injection and, passing healthy organs, finds and treats directly the goal – a non-operable tumor… Doesn’t it sound at least like science-fiction?


Figures 1 and 2. Microswimmer CAD and microswimmer micrograph

© MPI IS


Figures 3 and 4. Microflower CAD and microflower micrograph

© MPI IS

To make it real, a growing number of researchers are now working towards this direction with the prospect of transforming many aspects of healthcare and bioengineering in the nearest future. What makes it not so easy are unique challenges pertaining to design, fabrication and encoding functionality in producing functional microdevices.

To make design work

Conventional microfabrication techniques can provide relatively simple geometric structures with limited design flexibility and function. These are so called “passive” systems, limited to a certain structure, such as tube or sphere, which plain fabric allows only restricted chemical functionality.

To overcome these, Prof. Sitti and his coworkers of the Physical Intelligence Department at the Max-Planck-Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have recently developed a new two-step approach to provide the devices with desirable functions.

The first step – creation of design entitled to make further elaboration of the microdevice – is realized by crosslinking light-responsive polymers. It is based on the 3D laser lithography technique and allows chemically homogenous base structures to be fabricated with high versatility (see Figure 1).

The second step is linking of functionalities to the produced 3D-sample at its specific sites: the already fabricated structure is being modified with chemically compatible small molecules that are able to introduce new chemical groups on the desired parts of the material (see Figure 2). It is being achieved by selective illumination in 3D: an unreacted polymer precursor is removed and a new precursor, bearing the desired chemical functionality, is performed.

“Size scale of such microdevices strongly determines what type of tools can be used in order to be capable to provide them with definite functionalities. And that’s most challenging: not only to create the convenient design, but to find a way to make it work. “Our research is the first study that translates information from computer design into functional structure in the microscale”, explains Dr. Hakan Ceylan, postdoctoral researcher at the Max-Planck-Institute for Intelligent Systems.

To prove the concept, the authors first prepared a bullet-shaped microswimmer, in which the inner cavity was selectively modified with catalytic platinum nanoparticles over several steps. To further underline the importance of this method for biomaterials development, the researchers designed a microflower bearing orthogonal biotin, thiol and alkyne groups at precisely defined positions (see Figure 3 and Figure 4).

Bigger intelligence at smaller dimensions

In nature, organisms without brains, such as slime molds, bacteria and plants, use physical intelligence as the main route of making decisions and adaptations to complex and evolving conditions. In the same vein, Physical Intelligence Department of Max-Planck-Institute for Intelligent Systems exploits the physical and chemical properties of materials to program active tasks at the micron size.

“Our key objective is to develop new methods of making miniaturized materials that are performing intelligently in complex and unstable environment. An important question concerning this is how intelligence is going to be achieved at the smaller dimensions, where no conventional computational capabilities exist”, Ceylan says. “Our newly developed two-step platform is a significant achievement in this direction”.

Mobile devices at micron scale afford particular advantages to pursue novel bioengineering strategies. The method further unveils computer-aided design to make functional microdevices, potentially opening large avenues for making highly complex new designs that was not conceivable before. Functional soft materials under one-millimeter promise myriad of applications in various fields, including bioengineering, targeted delivery, tissue engineering, programmable matter, self-organizing systems, soft microactuators and mobile microrobots.

A device that has a comparable size of a single cell with on-board motility and sensing capabilities could provide an unprecedented direct access to deep and delicate body sites, such as brain, spinal cord and eye. Therefore it should be perfectly used for minimally invasive medical surgeries, as it potentially opens up new ways of medical interventions with minimal tissue damage compared with the tethered catheters and endoscopes and incision-based procedures.

Although all these new possibilities, which a tiny robot is going to bring, are not yet available, it is not so long to wait till the day it will become our present, scientists are convinced. “In the near future – probably in around 10 years – this could have tremendous applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine”, Ceylan assumes, “while, in the longer term, it could revolutionize the treatment of genetic diseases by single cell-level protein or nucleic acid delivery. Such untethered active materials are particularly attractive for microrobotics and medical cargo carrier applications”.

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.is.mpg.de/sitti

Anna Bajrakov | Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme

Further reports about: 3D Intelligent Systems Max-Planck-Institut microdevices micron

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht World’s Largest Study on Allergic Rhinitis Reveals new Risk Genes
17.07.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Plant mothers talk to their embryos via the hormone auxin
17.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>