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      How Should Microrobots Swim?

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          Most cited references 28

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          Life at low Reynolds number

           E. Purcell (1977)
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            Microscopic artificial swimmers.

            Microorganisms such as bacteria and many eukaryotic cells propel themselves with hair-like structures known as flagella, which can exhibit a variety of structures and movement patterns. For example, bacterial flagella are helically shaped and driven at their bases by a reversible rotary engine, which rotates the attached flagellum to give a motion similar to that of a corkscrew. In contrast, eukaryotic cells use flagella that resemble elastic rods and exhibit a beating motion: internally generated stresses give rise to a series of bends that propagate towards the tip. In contrast to this variety of swimming strategies encountered in nature, a controlled swimming motion of artificial micrometre-sized structures has not yet been realized. Here we show that a linear chain of colloidal magnetic particles linked by DNA and attached to a red blood cell can act as a flexible artificial flagellum. The filament aligns with an external uniform magnetic field and is readily actuated by oscillating a transverse field. We find that the actuation induces a beating pattern that propels the structure, and that the external fields can be adjusted to control the velocity and the direction of motion.
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              Swimming in circles: motion of bacteria near solid boundaries.

              Near a solid boundary, Escherichia coli swims in clockwise circular motion. We provide a hydrodynamic model for this behavior. We show that circular trajectories are natural consequences of force-free and torque-free swimming and the hydrodynamic interactions with the boundary, which also leads to a hydrodynamic trapping of the cells close to the surface. We compare the results of the model with experimental data and obtain reasonable agreement. In particular, the radius of curvature of the trajectory is observed to increase with the length of the bacterium body.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                The International Journal of Robotics Research
                The International Journal of Robotics Research
                SAGE Publications
                0278-3649
                1741-3176
                October 26 2009
                July 21 2009
                : 28
                : 11-12
                : 1434-1447
                Article
                10.1177/0278364909341658
                © 2009

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