Will Bubble-powered Microrockets Zoom through the Human Stomach?
Summary posted by Meridian on 2/10/2012
Source: American Chemical Society (8 Feb 2012)
Author(s): Michael Woods
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, United States, have developed a “microrocket” that can propel itself through acidic environments, such as the human stomach, without any external energy source. Self-propelled nano- or micro-scale motors could have applications in targeted drug delivery or imaging in humans, as well as for monitoring industrial applications, but other versions are not self-propelled and/or cannot withstand extreme environments such as the stomach. The version developed by Joseph Wang and colleagues can move itself without added fuel in very acidic conditions. The microrocket, in such environments, spontaneously produces bubbles of hydrogen gas, which propels it at virtual warp speed. Wang’s device, in contrast to current models, is lined with zinc in the interior, a material that is biocompatible and “greener” than other materials. The team also developed a version with a magnetic layer, allowing them to guide the microrockets toward cargo for pick-up, transport and release.
The original article may still be available at http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=223&content_id=CNBP_029267&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=388221b0-ecad-4cbe-ad28-bb1da07d27ac