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 Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>