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Nanoscale robotic agents in biological fluids and tissues


Book Chapter


Nanorobots are untethered structures of sub-micron size that can be controlled in a non-trivial way. Such nanoscale robotic agents are envisioned to revolutionize medicine by enabling minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. To be useful, nanorobots must be operated in complex biological fluids and tissues, which are often difficult to penetrate. In this chapter, we first discuss potential medical applications of motile nanorobots. We briefly present the challenges related to swimming at such small scales and we survey the rheological properties of some biological fluids and tissues. We then review recent experimental results in the development of nanorobots and in particular their design, fabrication, actuation, and propulsion in complex biological fluids and tissues. Recent work shows that their nanoscale dimension is a clear asset for operation in biological tissues, since many biological tissues consist of networks of macromolecules that prevent the passage of larger micron-scale structures, but contain dynamic pores through which nanorobots can move.

Author(s): Palagi, Stefano and Walker, Debora, Qiu, Tian and Fischer, Peer
Book Title: The Encyclopedia of Medical Robotics
Volume: 2
Pages: 19-42
Year: 2018
Month: October
Editors: Desai, J. P. and Ferreira, A.
Publisher: World Scientific

Department(s): Micro, Nano, and Molecular Systems
Bibtex Type: Book Chapter (inbook)

Chapter: 2
DOI: 10.1142/9789813232280_0002
State: Published
URL: https://doi.org/10.1142/9789813232280_0002


  title = {Nanoscale robotic agents in biological fluids and tissues},
  author = {},
  booktitle = {The Encyclopedia of Medical Robotics},
  volume = {2},
  pages = {19-42},
  chapter = {2},
  editors = {Desai, J. P. and Ferreira, A.},
  publisher = {World Scientific},
  month = oct,
  year = {2018},
  url = {https://doi.org/10.1142/9789813232280_0002},
  month_numeric = {10}