Micromachines powered by bubbles

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Researchers used a laser to make microscopic, spinning rotors powered by bubbles. The laser method gives them precise control over how the rotor spins, which enables them to link up other microcomponents and create tiny, working mechanisms like a crank slider. Researchers hope to use micromachines like these to make miniature robots and sensors.

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Source Article

Femtosecond Laser Fabrication of Three-Dimensional Bubble-Propelled Microrotors for Multicomponent Mechanical Transmission
Nano Letters
Corresponding authors: Dong Wu, Ph.D., and Chen Xin, Ph.D.


This machine is smaller than a grain of sand. It’s powered by a microscopic rotor that spins by ejecting bubbles from its blades.

A metal catalyst reacts with a fuel solution to make the bubbles. The catalyst’s position controls the rotor speed. Laser blasts put the catalyst in precise spots, so the rotor spins in a predictable way. Then they can link up other components. Machines like these could help make tiny robots or sensors.

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