Micro/Nano Robotics, Volume II

A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2017) | Viewed by 64663

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Institute for Advanced Research, Nagoya University, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan
2. Department of Mechatronics Engineering, Meijo University, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture 468-0073, Japan
3. School of Mechatronical Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, 100081, China
Interests: intelligent robotic and mechatronic system; cellular robotic system; micro- and nano-robotic system
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Control and Mechatronics Engineering, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia
Interests: micro-nano systems engineering; single cell analysis; multi-agent robotics systems
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China​
Interests: robotics; micro-nano manipulation; cell assembly; DNA origami; nano characterization
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

With the rapid progress of robot technology, micro/nano robotics have significantly impacted our daily lives, such as by their use in advanced manufacturing, high precision manipulation, material characterization, biological cell manipulation, and so on. This progress paves new ways for studies at a small scale, and has been regarded as an essential technology for basic research and industrial applications. Nowadays, both the fundamental theories and the practical applications of micro/nano robots have received increasing interest. This Special Issue aims to showcase review or rigorous original papers describing current and expected challenges, along with potential solutions, for "Micro/Nano Robotics" in the journal Micromachines (2016 IF: 1.833). Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Novel micro/nano robotic design and development

  • Novel control theories for micro/nano robots

  • Novel sensing technologies for micro/nano robots

  • Novel applications of micro/nano robots in advanced manufacturing, high precision manipulation, and industry

  • Novel applications of micro/nano robots in basic material and biological research

  • Soft robotics at small scale

  • Non-contact manipulation and control at small scale

Prof. Dr. Toshio Fukuda
Dr. Mohd Ridzuan bin Ahmad
Dr. Yajing Shen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Micromachines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • micro/nano robot

  • micro/nano systems

  • micro/nano mechatronics

  • micro-nano materials

  • micro-nano bio-systems

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 68921 KiB  
Article
A Magnetic-Field-Assisted Milli-Scale Robotic Assembly Machine: An Approach to Parallel Robotic Automation Systems
by Yan Liu and Nuggehalli M. Ravindra
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040144 - 23 Mar 2018
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4238
Abstract
Utilizing large numbers of microrobots to heterogeneously integrate small devices to build advanced structures has long been a goal in the field of manufacturing automation. In this paper, we demonstrate a novel milli-scale robotic assembly machine with highly parallel capabilities and assisted with [...] Read more.
Utilizing large numbers of microrobots to heterogeneously integrate small devices to build advanced structures has long been a goal in the field of manufacturing automation. In this paper, we demonstrate a novel milli-scale robotic assembly machine with highly parallel capabilities and assisted with a programmable magnetic field. The prototype machine consists of a 16 × 16 array of electromagnets. Using this machine, we have successfully demonstrated the manipulation of up to nine milli-scale robots simultaneously. Moreover, two microrobots have been operated to demonstrate the proof of concept of two simultaneous pick-and-place light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The design and modeling of the microrobots is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Robotics, Volume II)
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10 pages, 4931 KiB  
Article
Robotic Cell Rotation Based on Optimal Poking Direction
by Chunlin Zhao, Yaowei Liu, Mingzhu Sun and Xin Zhao
Micromachines 2018, 9(4), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9040141 - 22 Mar 2018
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3453
Abstract
It is essential to have three-dimensional orientation of cells under a microscope for biological manipulation. Conventional manual cell manipulation is highly dependent on the operator’s experience. It has some problems of low repeatability, low efficiency, and contamination. The current popular robotic method uses [...] Read more.
It is essential to have three-dimensional orientation of cells under a microscope for biological manipulation. Conventional manual cell manipulation is highly dependent on the operator’s experience. It has some problems of low repeatability, low efficiency, and contamination. The current popular robotic method uses an injection micropipette to rotate cells. However, the optimal poking direction of the injection micropipette has not been established. In this paper, a strategy of robotic cell rotation based on optimal poking direction is proposed to move the specific structure of the cell to the desired orientation. First, analysis of the force applied to the cell during rotation was done to find the optimal poking direction, where we had the biggest moment of force. Then, the moving trajectory of the injection micropipette was designed to exert rotation force based on optimal poking direction. Finally, the strategy was applied to oocyte rotation in nuclear transfer. Experimental results show that the average completion time was up to 23.6 s and the success rate was 93.3% when the moving speed of the injection micropipette was 100 μm/s, which demonstrates that our strategy could overcome slippage effectively and with high efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Robotics, Volume II)
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19 pages, 7304 KiB  
Article
Micro-UFO (Untethered Floating Object): A Highly Accurate Microrobot Manipulation Technique
by Hüseyin Uvet, Ali Anil Demircali, Yusuf Kahraman, Rahmetullah Varol, Tunc Kose and Kadir Erkan
Micromachines 2018, 9(3), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9030126 - 14 Mar 2018
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 8474
Abstract
A new microrobot manipulation technique with high precision (nano level) positional accuracy to move in a liquid environment with diamagnetic levitation is presented. Untethered manipulation of microrobots by means of externally applied magnetic forces has been emerging as a promising field of research, [...] Read more.
A new microrobot manipulation technique with high precision (nano level) positional accuracy to move in a liquid environment with diamagnetic levitation is presented. Untethered manipulation of microrobots by means of externally applied magnetic forces has been emerging as a promising field of research, particularly due to its potential for medical and biological applications. The purpose of the presented method is to eliminate friction force between the surface of the substrate and microrobot. In an effort to achieve high accuracy motion, required magnetic force for the levitation of the microrobot was determined by finite element method (FEM) simulations in COMSOL (version 5.3, COMSOL Inc., Stockholm, Sweden) and verified by experimental results. According to position of the lifter magnet, the levitation height of the microrobot in the liquid was found analytically, and compared with the experimental results head-to-head. The stable working range of the microrobot is between 30 µm to 330 µm, and it was confirmed in both simulations and experimental results. It can follow the given trajectory with high accuracy (<1 µm error avg.) at varied speeds and levitation heights. Due to the nano-level positioning accuracy, desired locomotion can be achieved in pre-specified trajectories (sinusoidal or circular). During its locomotion, phase difference between lifter magnet and carrier magnet has been observed, and relation with drag force effect has been discussed. Without using strong electromagnets or bulky permanent magnets, our manipulation approach can move the microrobot in three dimensions in a liquid environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Robotics, Volume II)
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16 pages, 3366 KiB  
Article
Characterizing Sources of Small DC Motor Noise and Vibration
by Yong Thung Cho
Micromachines 2018, 9(2), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9020084 - 15 Feb 2018
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 7712
Abstract
Small direct current (DC) motors are widely used due to their low cost and compact structure. Small DC motors of various designs are available on the market in different sizes. The smaller the motor, the more closely it may be used by individuals. [...] Read more.
Small direct current (DC) motors are widely used due to their low cost and compact structure. Small DC motors of various designs are available on the market in different sizes. The smaller the motor, the more closely it may be used by individuals. Contrary to the size and simplicity of these motors in terms of structural design, sources of motor noise and vibration can be quite diverse and complicated. In this study, the source of motor noise and vibration was visualized over a very wide range of frequencies. The particle velocity of the motor was reconstructed from nearfield sound pressure measurements of motor noise. In addition to noncontact measurements conducted on a motor running at constant speed, the particle velocity of a stationary motor due to the impulse of an impact hammer was measured with an accelerometer. Furthermore, motor noise was measured under motor run-up conditions with different rotational speeds. As a result, by combination of these three methods, the sources of motor noise were accurately identified over a wide range of frequencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Robotics, Volume II)
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17 pages, 3292 KiB  
Article
Design of Microscale Magnetic Tumbling Robots for Locomotion in Multiple Environments and Complex Terrains
by Chenghao Bi, Maria Guix, Benjamin V. Johnson, Wuming Jing and David J. Cappelleri
Micromachines 2018, 9(2), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9020068 - 3 Feb 2018
Cited by 60 | Viewed by 14735
Abstract
This paper presents several variations of a microscale magnetic tumbling ( μ TUM) robot capable of traversing complex terrains in dry and wet environments. The robot is fabricated by photolithography techniques and consists of a polymeric body with two sections with embedded magnetic [...] Read more.
This paper presents several variations of a microscale magnetic tumbling ( μ TUM) robot capable of traversing complex terrains in dry and wet environments. The robot is fabricated by photolithography techniques and consists of a polymeric body with two sections with embedded magnetic particles aligned at the ends and a middle nonmagnetic bridge section. The robot’s footprint dimensions are 400 μ m × 800 μ m. Different end geometries are used to test the optimal conditions for low adhesion and increased dynamic response to an actuating external rotating magnetic field. When subjected to a magnetic field as low as 7 mT in dry conditions, this magnetic microrobot is able to operate with a tumbling locomotion mode and translate with speeds of over 60 body lengths/s (48 mm/s) in dry environments and up to 17 body lengths/s (13.6 mm/s) in wet environments. Two different tumbling modes were observed and depend on the alignment of the magnetic particles. A technique was devised to measure the magnetic particle alignment angle relative to the robot’s geometry. Rotational frequency limits were observed experimentally, becoming more prohibitive as environment viscosity increases. The μ TUM’s performance was studied when traversing inclined planes (up to 60°), showing promising climbing capabilities in both dry and wet conditions. Maximum open loop straight-line trajectory errors of less than 4% and 2% of the traversal distance in the vertical and horizontal directions, respectively, for the μ TUM were observed. Full directional control of μ TUM was demonstrated through the traversal of a P-shaped trajectory. Additionally, successful locomotion of the optimized μ TUM design over complex terrains was also achieved. By implementing machine vision control and/or embedding of payloads in the middle section of the robot, it is possible in the future to upgrade the current design with computer-optimized mobility through multiple environments and the ability to perform drug delivery tasks for biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Robotics, Volume II)
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1119 KiB  
Communication
Towards Miniaturization of Magnetic Gears: Torque Performance Assessment
by Efren Diez-Jimenez, Rocio Sanchez-Montero and Miriam Martinez-Muñoz
Micromachines 2018, 9(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9010016 - 31 Dec 2017
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5421
Abstract
Magnetomechanical components can be a good solution in order to reduce, or even completely avoid, friction phenomena in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) since they can transmit forces through magnetic fields without contacts. In this communication, electromagnetic simulations of the expected specific torque of a [...] Read more.
Magnetomechanical components can be a good solution in order to reduce, or even completely avoid, friction phenomena in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) since they can transmit forces through magnetic fields without contacts. In this communication, electromagnetic simulations of the expected specific torque of a coaxial magnetic gear are given. The results show that micromagnetic gears (3 mm of diameter) could provide a specific torque up to 8.98 Nm/kg, several times larger than the specific torque that microgears (<9 mm of diameter) can provide. This implies that micromagnetic gears could provide speed conversion without contact in the teeth, avoiding corresponding friction, but also that it would even improve the specific torque transmission with respect to contact microgears. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Robotics, Volume II)
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2404 KiB  
Article
Pick-and-Place Operation of Single Cell Using Optical and Electrical Measurements for Robust Manipulation
by Moeto Nagai, Keita Kato, Kiyotaka Oohara and Takayuki Shibata
Micromachines 2017, 8(12), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi8120350 - 30 Nov 2017
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 5437
Abstract
A robust pick and placement operation of a single cell is necessary for efficient sample collection. Detection and manipulation of single cells requires minimum invasiveness. We report a less-invasive method for picking up and placing single cells using optical and electrical observations for [...] Read more.
A robust pick and placement operation of a single cell is necessary for efficient sample collection. Detection and manipulation of single cells requires minimum invasiveness. We report a less-invasive method for picking up and placing single cells using optical and electrical observations for robust cell manipulation. We measured the ionic current through a glass pipette during a cell capture and release operation to detect its capture. Trapping a cell on the pipette tip by suction decreased the current and allowed the detection of cell capture within 1 s. A time-series ionic current was sensitive to the location of a cell and effective at detecting a single cell. A time-series ionic current had a higher signal-to-noise ratio than time-series microscope images. Cell membrane integrity was analyzed at the different capturing and voltage conditions. Serum protein coating shows improvement of a cell release from a pipette tip. Measurement of trajectory and distance of a cell reveals that the movement depends on an ejection flow and the flow in a dish. We achieved a pick-up and placement operation for single cells that was compatible with an open-top microwell while performing observations using optical microscopy and measurements using an electrical current. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Robotics, Volume II)
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Graphical abstract

6504 KiB  
Article
Microrobotic Platform for Single Motile Microorganism Investigation
by Belal Ahmad, Hironobu Maeda, Tomohiro Kawahara and Fumihito Arai
Micromachines 2017, 8(10), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi8100295 - 30 Sep 2017
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4721
Abstract
We propose a microrobotic platform for single motile microorganism observation and investigation. The platform utilizes a high-speed online vision sensor to realize real-time observation of a microorganism under a microscopic environment with a relatively high magnification ratio. A microfluidic chip was used to [...] Read more.
We propose a microrobotic platform for single motile microorganism observation and investigation. The platform utilizes a high-speed online vision sensor to realize real-time observation of a microorganism under a microscopic environment with a relatively high magnification ratio. A microfluidic chip was used to limit the vertical movement of the microorganism and reduce the tracking system complexity. We introduce a simple image processing method, which utilizes high-speed online vision characteristics and shows robustness against image noise to increase the overall tracking performance with low computational time consumption. The design also considers the future integration of a stimulation system using microtools. Successful long-time tracking of a freely swimming microorganism inside of a microfluidic chip for more than 30 min was achieved notwithstanding the presence of noises in the environment of the cell. The specific design of the platform, particularly the tracking system, is described, and the performance is evaluated and confirmed through basic experiments. The potential of the platform to apply mechanical stimulation to a freely swimming microorganism is demonstrated by using a 50-µm-thick microtool. The proposed platform can be used for long-term observation and to achieve different kinds of stimulations, which can induce new behavior of the cells and lead to unprecedented discoveries in biological fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Robotics, Volume II)
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7955 KiB  
Article
Accurate Extraction of the Self-Rotational Speed for Cells in an Electrokinetics Force Field by an Image Matching Algorithm
by Xieliu Yang, Xihui Niu, Zhu Liu, Yuliang Zhao, Guanglie Zhang, Wenfeng Liang and Wen Jung Li
Micromachines 2017, 8(9), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi8090282 - 18 Sep 2017
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4460
Abstract
We present an image-matching-based automated algorithm capable of accurately determining the self-rotational speed of cancer cells in an optically-induced electrokinetics-based microfluidic chip. To automatically track a specific cell in a video featuring more than one cell, a background subtraction technique was used. To [...] Read more.
We present an image-matching-based automated algorithm capable of accurately determining the self-rotational speed of cancer cells in an optically-induced electrokinetics-based microfluidic chip. To automatically track a specific cell in a video featuring more than one cell, a background subtraction technique was used. To determine the rotational speeds of cells, a reference frame was automatically selected and curve fitting was performed to improve the stability and accuracy. Results show that the algorithm was able to accurately calculate the self-rotational speeds of cells up to ~150 rpm. In addition, the algorithm could be used to determine the motion trajectories of the cells. Potential applications for the developed algorithm include the differentiation of cell morphology and characterization of cell electrical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Robotics, Volume II)
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4426 KiB  
Article
“Z”-Shaped Rotational Au/Pt Micro-Nanorobot
by Kai Chen, Chenyi Gu, Zhan Yang, Masahiro Nakajima, Tao Chen and Toshio Fukuda
Micromachines 2017, 8(6), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi8060183 - 8 Jun 2017
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 4843
Abstract
Drug delivery, minimally-invasive surgery, and a hospital-in-the-body are highly desirable for meeting the rapidly growing needs of nanorobot. This paper reports a Z-shaped gold/platinum (Au/Pt) hybrid nanorobot which realizes the self-rotational movement without an external force field. The Z-shaped Au/Pt hybrid nanorobot was [...] Read more.
Drug delivery, minimally-invasive surgery, and a hospital-in-the-body are highly desirable for meeting the rapidly growing needs of nanorobot. This paper reports a Z-shaped gold/platinum (Au/Pt) hybrid nanorobot which realizes the self-rotational movement without an external force field. The Z-shaped Au/Pt hybrid nanorobot was fabricated by focused ion beam (FIB) and plasma sputtering. The purity of the nanorobot was tested by energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDS). The weight percentage of Pt and Au at the tip were 94.28% and 5.72%, respectively. The weight percentage of Pt and Au at the bottom were 17.39% and 82.75%, respectively. The size of the nanorobot was 2.58 × 10−16 m2 and the mass of the nanorobot was 8.768 × 10−8 kg. The driving force of the nanorobot was 9.76 × 10−14 N at the 6.9% concentration of hydrogen peroxide solution. The rotation speed was 13 rpm, 14 rpm, and 19 rpm at 5.6%, 6.2%, and 7.8% concentrations, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Robotics, Volume II)
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