Quentin Martinet is currently a postdoc in the group of Jérémie Palacci at IST Austria. He obtained in 2019 his Ph.D. degree in physics from the university of Lyon 1 (France) while working on plasmonic tweezers and inelastic light scattering technics applied to life sciences. He then joined the group of Jérémie Palacci at UC San Diego to realize, with optical manipulation, the controlled assembly of active colloids into micromachines. In 2021, he moved with the Materiali Molli lab to IST Austria and his current research interests focus on active matter, optical tweezers applications and micro-robotic.
Thursday April 20th
From active colloids to programmable micromachines
Engineering micromachines open interesting perspectives to probe and manipulate matters at small scale but it also encounters the challenge of assembly and reconfigurability at this size. We previously demonstrated a new approach, templated assembly, which exploits optical forces and the activity of the colloids to create autonomous, mobile, stable and reprogrammable architectures.
We show the assembly and control of a family of self-spinning cogwheels with varying teeth numbers, formed by colloidal microswimmers that power the structure. Leveraging the angular momentum of optical vortices, we control the direction of rotation of these centrosymmetric structures. We study pairs of interlocking cogwheels that roll over each other in a random walk and curvature-dependent mobility. We take advantage of this feature to achieve self-positioning of cogwheels on structures with variable curvature and program micro-robots. We finally highlight their practical relevance for operation at small scale with the ability to pick up, transport and release a load.
This work highlights untapped opportunities of manufacturing at microscale using self-positioning components and constitutes a step towards autonomous machinery with external control and programmable micro-robots.