Micronaders are small particles that are able to move through the liquid on their own (such as bacteria and sperm). Artificially created, they will be able to go where no human has ever been (such as inside the brain or under Neptune’s glaciers), even if it is on board a 15-micrometer version of the USS Voyager.
The Star Trek Intrepid class spacecraft was printed in 3D by researchers at the University of Leiden within the study of how the shape of a micronator can affect its mobility and interactions with the environment it is in.
“Studying synthetic micronaders can lead us to better understand their biological counterparts, and this will help us in the development of new drug delivery vehicles; for example, microbots swimming autonomously could take drugs to the desired location in the human body or help clean up wastewater, “physicist Samia Ouhajji, one of the authors of the work now published in Soft Matter, told CNN.
Typically, micronaders are printed in the form of spheres or even rings – the purpose of the study at Leiden was precisely to see if they could swim if they had other shapes. Using a 3D printer, the researchers found that the shape affects the movement of the particles in different ways, which are driven by the chemical reaction between the platinum coating them with the hydrogen peroxide solution in which they are immersed.