The lack of clean water in many areas around the world is a persistent, major public health problem. One day, tiny robots could help address this issue by zooming around contaminated water and cleaning up disease-causing bacteria.
Scientists report a new development toward this goal in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
Drinking water contaminated with pathogenic bacteria can cause serious illnesses that, in areas with spotty medical services, are potentially life-threatening without proper treatment. Water can be disinfected with chlorine or other disinfectants, but there are some hardy bacteria and other microorganisms that are hard to remove. Treating water with a combination of disinfectants or increasing their concentrations can help. But they remain in the water, and their byproducts can be harmful to human health. In recent years, researchers have been exploring the use of self-propelled micromotors to degrade and capture pollutants in water. Building on this work, Diana Vilela, Samuel Sánchez Ordóñez and colleagues wanted to see if they could engineer tiny robots to remove waterborne bacteria.
The team designed “two-faced” spherical particles to perform the task. One face is made with magnesium, which reacts with water to produce hydrogen bubbles to propel the microbots. The other face is made out of alternating iron and gold layers topped by silver nanoparticles. Bacteria stick to the gold and are killed by the silver nanoparticles. Lab testing showed that the particles can motor around in water for 15 to 20 minutes before the magnesium is spent. And they trapped more than 80 percent of E. coli in water spiked with a high concentration of the bacteria. Then, because of the iron’s magnetic properties, the microbots are removed easily with a magnet, without leaving behind any harmful waste in the water.
The Latest on: Swimming microbots
- Purifying water with swimming, bacteria-hunting microbotson June 28, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Swimming microbots could help purify water by hunting down and killing bacteria, before being removed with magnets(Credit: American Chemical Society) In the future, contaminated water may be made ... […]
- Swimming microbots can remove pathogenic bacteria from water (video)on June 28, 2019 at 5:56 am
One face is made with magnesium, which reacts with water to produce hydrogen bubbles to propel the microbots. The other face is made out of alternating iron and gold layers topped by silver ... […]
- Tiny microbots fold like origami to travel through the human bodyon January 20, 2019 at 12:27 am
The microbots are highly flexible and are able to swim through fluids and change their shape in response to their environment, meaning they can squeeze through narrow blood vessels without slowing ... […]
- Scallop microbots designed to swim through your bodily fluidson November 12, 2018 at 4:00 pm
In the 1960s science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, audiences thrilled to the idea of shrinking a submarine and the people inside it to microscopic dimensions and injecting it into a person’s ... […]
- Top stories: jellyfish stingers, eye-swimming microbots, and a metric system makeoveron November 9, 2018 at 9:43 am
Angel Yanagihara of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu has spent 20 years studying the venom of box jellyfish and working to prove their stings exact a much higher death toll than commonly assumed. ... […]
- Swimming microbots mimic bacterial motion for precision taskson January 24, 2018 at 12:39 am
Swimming microbots inspired by bacteria could one day be used to carry out precision tasks such as microscale assembly and targeted drug delivery. Swimming micromachines, capable of self-assembling to ... […]
- Swimming microbots can remove pathogenic bacteria from wateron June 28, 2017 at 11:12 am
American Chemical Society. "Swimming microbots can remove pathogenic bacteria from water." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 June 2017. . American ... […]
- Swimming microbots can remove pathogenic bacteria from wateron June 28, 2017 at 9:52 am
Thank you for taking your time to send in your valued opinion to Science X editors. You can be assured our editors closely monitor every feedback sent and will take appropriate actions. Your opinions ... […]
- Swimming Microbots Can Remove Pathogenic Bacteria from Water (Video) (image)on June 28, 2017 at 9:42 am
Tiny, self-propelled robots trap bacteria and could help make water safer to drink (artist's rendering). Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted ... […]
- Swimming microbots can remove pathogenic bacteria from water (video)on June 28, 2017 at 9:41 am
The lack of clean water in many areas around the world is a persistent, major public health problem. One day, tiny robots could help address this issue by zooming around contaminated water and ... […]
via Google News and Bing News