Harrick PlasmaApplicationsDevice FabricationMicrorobotics

Microrobotics is an emerging technology attractive to the biotechnology industry and environmental sciences because of its versatility and vast potential. While microrobot design and function varies widely, they are defined by their small size and ability to manipulate objects at the micro-scale. Microrobotics have applications in disease monitoring and treatment, therapeutic tools, and environmental remediation.

Microbiotics researchers rely on Harrick Plasma Cleaners for two main functions, microrobot manufacturing procedures and microfluidic device fabrication for microrobotics testing and evaluation.

Microrobotics Manufacturing

Due to their micro-scale feature sizes, microrobots require extreme precision and handling during manufacturing. Plasma treatment increases surface wettability, which can improve adhesion between critical materials. In the following articles, plasma treatment is used during microrobot manufacturing.

  • In Zhu et al., gear shaped microrobots with multiple functions were studied under different frequency responses, for applications in the biomedical field. Harrick Plasma Cleaning was used to bind a glass slide to microgears as a procedure step in the fabrication.
  • In Taccola et al., microactuators were produced for applications in microrobotics. The Harrick Plasma Cleaner improved the wettability of a PDMS component prior to PEDOT:PSS deposition. As art of the procedure in the fabrication.
Featured Microrobotics manufacturing Articles

Taccola S, Greco F, Mazzolai B, Mattoli V, Jager EWH. “Thin film free-standing PEDOT:PSS/SU8 bilayer microactuators.” J Micromech Microeng. (2013)23(11):117004. 10.1088/0960-1317/23/11/117004

Taccola S, Greco F, Sinibaldi E, Mondini A, Mazzolai B, and Mattoli V. “Toward a new generation of electrically controllable hygromorphic soft actuators”. Adv. Mater. 2015 27: 1668–1675 10.1002/adma.201404772

Zhu S, Zheng W, Wang J, Fang X, Zhang L, Niu F, Wang Y, Luo T, Liua G and Yang R. “Interactive and synergistic behaviours of multiple heterogeneous microrobots.” Lab Chip. 2022;22(18):3412-3423. 10.1039/D2LC00265E

Microrobotics Testing & Evaluation

Testing and evaluating microrobot function requires equally as precise microenvironment development. Microfluidic devices are commonly used to mimic the cellular microenvironment and can be used for this purpose. Plasma can also improve material biocompatibility, providing further control over the microenvironment in microchannels and other testing surfaces. In the following articles, plasma treatment is used in the development of microrobotic testing platforms, including microfluidic devices.

  • In Behrens et al, researchers developed magnetically actuated microrobots capable of autonomously navigating a biomimetic microenvironment. PDMS Bonding via plasma treatment produced the microfluidic devices used for testing and evaluation.
  • In response to the increasing number of antimicrobial resistance and the low efficacy of the antibiotic treatment of microbial cells in biofilms, new strategies with microrobotics are researched. In Deng et al., engineered diatoms invade coli biofilms with oxygen bubbles. The self-locomotive, antimicrobial microrobot (SLAM) produce O2 bubbles in the hollow, rod-shaped tunnel.  The Harrick Plasma Cleaner was used to clean a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) surface prior to biofilm formation as the substrate in the microrobotic experiments.
  • In Yilmaz et al., wound healing is studied in microfluidic devices. The microfluidic devices were made from plasma cleaning PDMS and glass. The wounds were formed in the microfluidic channels by magnetic microrobots under the closed system.

Microrobotics Testing & Evaluation Articles

Yilmaz A, Karavelioglu Z, Aydemir G, Demircali AA, Varol R, Kosar A and Uvet H. “Microfluidic wound scratching platform based on an untethered microrobot with magnetic actuation.” Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical. (2022)373:132643. 10.1016/j.snb.2022.132643

Behrens MR. “Engineering automated microrobotic systems with machine learning-based control for biomedical applications.” (2022).  http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/41887/

Deng YH, Ricciardulli T, Won J, Wade MA, Rogers SA, Boppart SA, Flaherty DW and Kong H. ‘Self-locomotive, antimicrobial microrobot (Slam) swarm for enhanced biofilm elimination.” Biomaterials. (2022)287:121610. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2022.121610

Harrick Plasma is a leading supplier of plasma equipment to the research community. We have been providing quality tabletop plasma devices specifically designed for laboratory and R&D use for over 30 years.