Microrobots or stretchy electronics can be made with dissolved sugar mixture.

Physics 24 November 2022

Karmela Padavic- Callaghan is a writer.

An image of microscopic disks that were transferred onto various grains of pollen.

Grains of pollen have been deposited with discs that look like candy.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is headed by Gary Zabow.

A sugar mixture similar to hard candy studded with metal discs has been used to deposit patterns onto objects. It is possible to create texture on small objects.

Researchers often use tinier objects, such as magnets, to make their surfaces more functional. They stamp components onto larger objects on a clean surface.

Gary Zabow is the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Colorado. He was able to add micropatterns to objects that were irregular and jagged.

A warm mixture of sugar and corn syrup was poured over the discs and rings of silver and Platinum that he had arranged into a pattern. Adding corn makes the sugar stay in the pattern. The components got stuck in the mixture as it hardened. Zabow wrapped the hardened mixture around the object he wanted to pattern and re-heated it so that it would melt in the sun. He dissolved the sugar mixture with water and the components remained on the object.

Credit to Gary Zabow/NIST, the yellow if false color, and the image shows

There was a false-colour image of letters on a strand of hair.

Gary Zabow works for theNIST.

The method was tested on objects such as metal cubes and glass beads. The method could be used to make microrobots and nanoparticles that enter the human body in biomedicine.

The method works better than other methods for patterning small objects. He says it could be a good match for making flexible electronics that can be incorporated into biological tissues or Wearables.

Zabow wants other researchers to try out this kind of micro patterning. I hope that other people will think of things I haven't thought to do. He says it's easy to experiment further because you just take a candy and it will work.

The journal's title is "science."

There are more on this topic.

  • engineering
  • materials science