Switching from Chemical to Electrical Micromotor Propulsion across a Gradient of Gastric Fluid via Magnetic Rolling

Sankha Shuvra Das, Shahar Erez, Emil Karshalev, Yue Wu, Joseph Wang, Gilad Yossifon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To address and extend the finite lifetime of Mg-based micromotors due to the depletion of the engine (Mg-core), we examine electric fields, along with previously studied magnetic fields, to create a triple-engine hybrid micromotor for driving these micromotors. Electric fields are a facile energy source that is not limited in its operation time and can dynamically tune the micromotor mobility by simply changing the frequency and amplitude of the field. Moreover, the same electrical fields can be used for cell trapping and transport as well as drug delivery. However, the limitations of these propulsion mechanisms are the low pH (and high conductivity) environment required for Mg dissolution, while the electrical propulsion is quenched at these conditions as it requires low conductivity mediums. In order to translate the micromotor between these two extreme medium conditions, we use magnetic rolling as means of self-propulsion along with magnetic steering. Interestingly, electrical propulsion also necessitates at least the partial consumption of the Mg, resulting in a sufficient geometrical asymmetry of the micromotor. We have successfully demonstrated the rapid propulsion switching capability of the micromotor, from chemical to electrical motions, via magnetic rolling within a microfluidic device with the concentration gradient of the simulated gastric fluid. Such triple-engine micromotor propulsion holds considerable promise for in vitro studies mimicking gastric conditions and performing various bioassay tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30290-30298
Number of pages9
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number26
StatePublished - 6 Jul 2022


  • active particles
  • cell trapping
  • dielectrophoresis
  • electrical propulsion
  • hybrid propulsion
  • Mg-core micromotor


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