Smart nano-bio-devices


Video highlights


About

Chemically powered micro- and nanomotors are small devices that are self-propelled by catalytic reactions in fluids. These synthetic systems form a relatively new class of active matter, natural examples of which include flocks of birds, collection of cells and suspensions of bacteria. A number of promising applications have been envisioned for these micro-nano motors, such as targeted drug delivery, environmental remediation and as pick-up and delivery agents in lab-on-a-chip devices. These applications rely on the basic functionalities of self-propelled motors: directional motion, sensing of the local environment, and the ability to respond to external signals. Our group works on the design and study of new types of synthetic motors towards these applications and develops proof-of-concept studies to demonstrate their viability. Below are some of the projects that we are currently working on.


Enzyme powered motors: from fundamentals to biomedical applications

Enzymes can be coupled with synthetic nano and micro structures to create efficient, bio-compatible nanomotors.

Enzymes trigger biocatalytic reactions, which can convert chemical energy into kinetic motion for bioprocesses, for example, intracellular protein transport. The use of enzyme catalysis is emerging as an attractive alternative to power micro- and nanomachines due to their unique features including biocompatibility, versatility and fuel bioavailability. Our group has pioneered the use of different enzymes, including urease and glucose oxidase, to generate active propulsion, opening the door to new applications in biomedicine. We have recently demonstrated that using enzyme-powered nanomotors can improve anti-cancer drug delivery in vitro. In addition, we are also interested in the fundamental aspects underlying the motion mechanism of biocatalytic microswimmers to be able to design efficient and safe nanomotors.

Read more:
Bubble-Free Propulsion of Ultrasmall Tubular Nanojets Powered by Biocatalytic Reactions
Xing Ma, Ana C. Hortelao, Albert Miguel-López, and Samuel Sánchez
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2016 138, 13782-13785
Enzyme Catalysis To Power Micro/Nanomachines
Xing Ma, Ana C. Hortelão, Tania Patiño, and Samuel Sánchez
ACS Nano 2016 10, 9111-9122
Enzyme‐Powered Nanobots Enhance Anticancer Drug Delivery
Ana C Hortelão, Tania Patiño, Ariadna Perez‐Jiménez, Àngel Blanco, Samuel Sánchez
Advanced Functional Materials 2017, 1705086


Active matter near interfaces

interfaces

Phoretic and hydrodynamic interactions with nearby surfaces can be exploited to create a guidance mechanism for self-propelled particles and to self-assemble micro-gears.

We study colloidal suspensions of Pt-coated silica particles as a model system of synthetic active matter. These systems have mostly been studied in homogeneous environments until now. Our interest lies in observing these systems in more complex settings, such as near interfaces. We focus both on hard interfaces, like solid walls, and soft interfaces, such as an oil-water interface. Since the self-propelled particles generate chemical and hydrodynamic fields around them, they interact in complex ways with nearby surfaces that often leads to interesting behaviour. We could find, for instance, that close to solid surfaces they achieve a stable ‘gliding’ state which could be exploited to develop a system for guiding micro-nano motors using topographical features.  The same effect could also be used to self-assemble micro-motors around passive structures to form micro-gears.

Read more:
Topographical Pathways Guide Chemical Microswimmers
Juliane Simmchen, Jaideep Katuri, William E. Uspal, Mihail N. Popescu, Mykola Tasinkevych, and Samuel Sánchez
Nature Communications 2016 7 , 10598
Self-Assembly of Micromachining Systems Powered by Janus Micromotors
Claudio Maggi, Juliane Simmchen, Filippo Saglimbeni, Jaideep Katuri, Michele Dipalo, Francesco De Angelis, Samuel Sanchez, and Roberto Di Leonardo
Small 2016 12, 446–451


Environmental applications of micro-nano motors

Micromotors can remove a wide variety of pollutants in contaminated water.

Artificial micromotors, based on bubble self-propulsion have demonstrated to be able to mix solutions and enhance chemical reactions while they swim. These micromotors are mostly based on two main structures, tubular and spherical.

First, we have designed tubular micromotors, which use hydrogen peroxide as a fuel, using different techniques such as, ‘rolling-up’ and electrodeposition. ‘Rolling-up’ microjets with a functional iron based layer can generate and actively transport free radicals in the solution performing the degradation of organic dyes via Fenton-like reactions in presence of hydrogen peroxide. On the other hand, electrodeposited microjets, which are smaller than their ‘roll-up’ counterparts, contain graphene-oxide on the outside working as ‘heavy metal scrubbers’. In this case, the metal is adsorbed and removed from the contaminated water. The metal can thereafter be desorbed and the microjets used again.

In order to target other water pollution problems, such as microorganism contamination, we have developed spherical microbots that can kill bacteria while they swim. These microbots have a Janus structure based on spherical magnesium microparticles, able to dissolve in water producing hydrogen bubbles, covered in one of their faces by Fe, Au and AgNPs which provide magnetic, bacteria attachment and bactericidal properties to the microjets.

Recently, due to the necessity of scaling-up of the micromotor synthesis for cleaning large volumes of water, we have fabricated micromotors using exclusively chemical methods such as, precipitation, reduction and sol-gel chemistry. These micromotors are based on a silica microtubular structure which contains an inner-layer of a catalytic material (PtNPs or MnO2) capable of removing pollutants  efficiently from water while they swim in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. The external decoration of these structures with magnetic nanoparticles provides for good magnetic control. Finally, magnetic and catalytic micromotors formed by the aggregation of cobalt ferrite nanoparticles were synthesized to remove anti-biotics from water. All these micromotors, due to their magnetic properties can be removed from the solution after finishing their targeting action by the application of an external magnetic field.

Read more:
Self-Propelled Micromotors for Cleaning Polluted Water
Lluís Soler, Veronika Magdanz, Vladimir M. Fomin, Samuel Sanchez, and Oliver G. Schmidt
ACS Nano 2013 7, 9611-9620
Reusable and Long-Lasting Active Microcleaners for Heterogeneous Water Remediation
Jemish Parmar, Diana Vilela, Eva Pellicer, Daniel Esqué-de los Ojos, Jordi Sort, and Samuel Sánchez
Advanced Functional Materials 2016 26, 4152–4161
Graphene-Based Microbots for Toxic Heavy Metal Removal and Recovery from Water
Diana Vilela, Jemish Parmar, Yongfei Zeng, Yanli Zhao, and Samuel Sánchez
Nano Letters 2016 16, 2860-2866
Microbots Decorated with Silver Nanoparticles Kill Bacteria in Aqueous Media
Diana Vilela, Morgan M. Stanton, Jemish Parmar, and Samuel Sánchez
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2017, 9, 22093–22100


Bio-hybrid micro-nano motors

biohybrid

Bacteria can be selectively adhered to metal caps of ‘Janus’ colloids to create multi-flagellated bio hybrid systems.

Bio-hybrid motors focus on the interaction of a motile cell with artificial materials to create a mobile system that is powered by cellular actuation. Bio-hybrids are not powered by toxic chemical fuels but by biological fluids, making them ideal for biomedical applications. They are responsive to their local environment (pH, temperature, and chemical gradients) and are capable of performing complex tasks that synthetic-only motors would not be capable of. We have coupled E. coli bacteria with metal capped ‘Janus’ colloids to create a multi-flagellated bio-hybrid system. E. coli adheres selectively to the metal cap of the Janus particle and the polystyrene side of the Janus particle can be used for localized drug attachment. We have also recently used tubular bio-hybrid motors powered by magnetotactic bacteria to target bio-films.

Read more:
Magnetotactic Bacteria Powered Biohybrids Target E. coli Biofilms
Morgan M. Stanton, Byung-Wook Park, Diana Vilela, Klaas Bente, Damien Faivre, Metin Sitti, and Samuel Sánchez
ACS Nano 2017 11, 9968-9978
Biohybrid Microtube Swimmers Driven by Single Captured Bacteria
Morgan M. Stanton, Byung-Wook Park, Albert Miguel-López, Xing Ma, Metin Sitti, Samuel Sánchez
Small 2017 13, 1603679
Biohybrid Janus Motors Driven by Escherichia Coli
Morgan M. Stanton, Juliane Simmchen, Xing Ma, Albert Miguel-López, and Samuel Sánchez
Advanced Materials Interfaces 2016 3, 1500505


Flexible bio-sensors for personalized diagnostics

Electrodes fabricated on flexible substrates are modified with a wide range of materials for selectivity towards biomarkers. Analytes are quickly quantified by electrochemical techniques.

Point-of-care diagnostics is a promising complementary approach to clinical diagnostics performed at hospital settings. Decentralized monitoring of health parameters allows to improve quality of life of patients, enhance therapeutic efficacy thanks to more frequent tests, and lower the overall cost of the health system. We develop flexible biochemical sensors for non-invasive, cost-effective and personalized monitoring of bio-analytes in biological fluids. We focus on sensors based on electrochemical detection, as they are particularly suited for low-cost, portable and user-friendly medical diagnostics.

Read more:
Inkjet printed flexible non-enzymatic glucose sensor for tear fluid analysis
Agostino Romeo, Ana Moya, Tammy S. Leung, Gemma Gabriel, Rosa Villa and Samuel Sánchez
Applied Materials Today2018 10, 133-141
Smart biosensors for multiplexed and fully integrated point-of-care diagnostics
Agostino Romeo, Tammy Sue Leung, and Samuel Sánchez
Lab Chip, 2016 16, 1957-1961
Flexible sensors for biomedical technology
Diana Vilela, Agostino Romeo, and Samuel Sánchez
Lab Chip, 2016 16, 402-408


Soft hybrid bio-robotics

In the recent research line of soft hybrid bio-robotics, we explore the integration of biological tissue and artificial materials at larger length scales. In particular, we take advantage of the 3D bioprinting technique to develop bio-robotic systems composed of skeletal muscle cells embedded in biocompatible hydrogels, which can be 3D bioprinted alongside other artificial materials. These materials can act as scaffolds, support, or flexible parts, as well as be responsive upon certain stimuli. By controlling the contractions of skeletal muscle cells via electric fields, we can envisage different ways of actuation, paving the way for complex hybrid systems.

Read more:
Miniaturized soft bio-hybrid robotics: a step forward into healthcare applications
Tania Patino, Rafael Mestre, Samuel Sánchez
Lab Chip, 2016 1619, 3626-3630

Staff


Samuel Sánchez Ordóñez | Group Leader / ICREA Research Professor
Maria Guix Noguera | Postdoctoral Researcher
Nerea Murillo Cremaes | Postdoctoral Researcher
Tania Patiño Padial | Postdoctoral Researcher
Agostino Romeo | Postdoctoral Researcher
Paul Eduardo David Soto Rodriguez | Postdoctoral Researcher
Diana Vilela Garcia | Postdoctoral Researcher
Lei Wang | Postdoctoral Researcher
Xavier Arqué Roca | PhD Student
Ana Candida Lopes Hortelão | PhD Student
Rafael Mestre Castillo | PhD Student
Lucas Santiago Palacios Ruiz | PhD Student
Xavi Barceló Gallostra | Research Assistant
Ander Eguskiza Bilbao | Research Assistant
Albert Miguel López | Research Assistant
Jemish Parmar | Research Assistant
Natàlia Salvat Lozano | Research Assistant
Angel Blanco Blanes | Laboratory Technician

Projects

EU-funded projects
LT-NRBS Lab-in-a-tube and Nanorobotic biosensors (2013-2017) ERC Starting Grant Samuel Sánchez
Microcleaners Active microcleaners for water remediation (2016-2018) ERC Proof of Concept Grant Samuel Sánchez
National projects
MicroDia Sistemas Lab-on-a-chip basados en micro-nanomotores para el diagnóstico de enfermedades (2016-2018) MINECO, Retos investigación: Proyectos I+D Samuel Sánchez
ENZWIM Nanomotores de nanopartículas mesoporosas impulsados por enzimas MINECO, Explora Samuel Sánchez
Privately funded projects
Mesoporous Silica Micro/Nano-motors as Active Drug Delivery Vehicles (2014-2016) Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Ma Xing
LOC-Systems based on Nano/Micromachines for Food Safety Applications (2014-2016) Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Diana Vilela

Publications


For a list of publications prior to joining IBEC, visit the MPI for Intelligent Systems website.

Patiño, Tania, Feiner-Gracia, Natalia, Arqué, Xavier, Miguel-López, Albert, Jannasch, Anita, Stumpp, Tom, Schäffer, Erik, Albertazzi, Lorenzo, Sánchez, Samuel, (2018). Influence of enzyme quantity and distribution on the self-propulsion of non-Janus urease-powered micromotors Journal of the American Chemical Society 140, (25), 7896-7903

The use of enzyme catalysis to power micro- and nanomachines offers unique features such as biocompatibility, versatility, and fuel bioavailability. Yet, the key parameters underlying the motion behavior of enzyme-powered motors are not completely understood. Here, we investigate the role of enzyme distribution and quantity on the generation of active motion. Two different micromotor architectures based on either polystyrene (PS) or polystyrene coated with a rough silicon dioxide shell (PS@SiO2) were explored. A directional propulsion with higher speed was observed for PS@SiO2 motors when compared to their PS counterparts. We made use of stochastically optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM) to precisely detect single urease molecules conjugated to the micromotors surface with a high spatial resolution. An asymmetric distribution of enzymes around the micromotor surface was observed for both PS and PS@SiO2 architectures, indicating that the enzyme distribution was not the only parameter affecting the motion behavior. We quantified the number of enzymes present on the micromotor surface and observed a 10-fold increase in the number of urease molecules for PS@SiO2 motors compared to PS-based micromotors. To further investigate the number of enzymes required to generate a self-propulsion, PS@SiO2 particles were functionalized with varying amounts of urease molecules and the resulting speed and propulsive force were measured by optical tracking and optical tweezers, respectively. Surprisingly, both speed and force depended in a nonlinear fashion on the enzyme coverage. To break symmetry for active propulsion, we found that a certain threshold number of enzymes molecules per micromotor was necessary, indicating that activity may be due to a critical phenomenon. Taken together, these results provide new insights into the design features of micro/nanomotors to ensure an efficient development.


Hortelão, A. C., Patiño, T., Perez-Jiménez, A., Blanco, A., Sánchez, S., (2018). Enzyme-powered nanobots enhance anticancer drug delivery Advanced Functional Materials 28, 1705086

The use of enzyme catalysis to power micro- and nanomotors exploiting biocompatible fuels has opened new ventures for biomedical applications such as the active transport and delivery of specific drugs to the site of interest. Here, urease-powered nanomotors (nanobots) for doxorubicin (Dox) anticancer drug loading, release, and efficient delivery to cells are presented. These mesoporous silica-based core-shell nanobots are able to self-propel in ionic media, as confirmed by optical tracking and dynamic light scattering analysis. A four-fold increase in drug release is achieved by nanobots after 6 h compared to their passive counterparts. Furthermore, the use of Dox-loaded nanobots presents an enhanced anticancer efficiency toward HeLa cells, which arises from a synergistic effect of the enhanced drug release and the ammonia produced at high concentrations of urea substrate. A higher content of Dox inside HeLa cells is detected after 1, 4, 6, and 24 h incubation with active nanobots compared to passive Dox-loaded nanoparticles. The improvement in drug delivery efficiency achieved by enzyme-powered nanobots may hold potential toward their use in future biomedical applications such as the substrate-triggered release of drugs in target locations.

Keywords: Drug delivery, Enzymatic catalysis, Nanobots, Nanomachines, Nanomotors


Katuri, Jaideep, Uspal, William E., Simmchen, Juliane, Miguel-López, Albert, Sánchez, Samuel, (2018). Cross-stream migration of active particles Science Advances 4, (1), eaao1755

For natural microswimmers, the interplay of swimming activity and external flow can promote robust directed motion, for example, propulsion against (upstream rheotaxis) or perpendicular to the direction of flow. These effects are generally attributed to their complex body shapes and flagellar beat patterns. Using catalytic Janus particles as a model experimental system, we report on a strong directional response that occurs for spherical active particles in a channel flow. The particles align their propulsion axes to be nearly perpendicular to both the direction of flow and the normal vector of a nearby bounding surface. We develop a deterministic theoretical model of spherical microswimmers near a planar wall that captures the experimental observations. We show how the directional response emerges from the interplay of shear flow and near-surface swimming activity. Finally, adding the effect of thermal noise, we obtain probability distributions for the swimmer orientation that semiquantitatively agree with the experimental distributions.


Villa, Katherine, Parmar, Jemish, Vilela, Diana, Sánchez, Samuel, (2018). Metal-oxide-based microjets for the simultaneous removal of organic pollutants and heavy metals ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 10, (24), 20478-20486

Water contamination from industrial and anthropogenic activities is nowadays a major issue in many countries worldwide. To address this problem, efficient water treatment technologies are required. Recent efforts have focused on the development of self-propelled micromotors that provide enhanced micromixing and mass transfer by the transportation of reactive species, resulting in higher decontamination rates. However, a real application of these micromotors is still limited due to the high cost associated to their fabrication process. Here, we present Fe2O3-decorated SiO2/MnO2 microjets for the simultaneous removal of industrial organic pollutants and heavy metals present in wastewater. These microjets were synthesized by low-cost and scalable methods. They exhibit an average speed of 485 ± 32 μm s–1 (∼28 body length per s) at 7% H2O2, which is the highest reported for MnO2-based tubular micromotors. Furthermore, the photocatalytic and adsorbent properties of the microjets enable the efficient degradation of organic pollutants, such as tetracycline and rhodamine B under visible light irradiation, as well as the removal of heavy metal ions, such as Cd2+ and Pb2+.

Keywords: Micromotors, Photocatalytic, Water purification, Fenton, Magnetic control, Iron oxide, Manganese oxide


Villa, Katherine, Parmar, Jemish, Vilela, Diana, Sanchez, Samuel, (2018). Core-shell microspheres for the ultrafast degradation of estrogen hormone at neutral pH RSC Advances 8, (11), 5840-5847

In the past few years there has been growing concern about human exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals. This kind of pollutants can bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms and lead to serious health problems, especially affecting child development. Many efforts have been devoted to achieving the efficient removal of such refractory organics. In this regard, a novel catalyst based on the combination of α-FeOOH and MnO2@MnCO3 catalysts has been developed by up-scalable techniques from cheap precursors and tested in the photo-Fenton-like degradation of an endocrine disruptor. Almost total degradation of 17α-ethynylestradiol hormone was achieved after only 2 min of simulated solar irradiation at neutral pH. The outstanding performance of FeOOH@MnO2@MnCO3 microspheres was mainly attributed to a larger generation of hydroxyl radicals, which are the primary mediators of the total oxidation for this hormone. This work contributes to the development of more cost-effective systems for the rapid and efficient removal of persistent organic pollutants present in sewage plant effluents under direct solar light.


Katuri, Jaideep, Caballero, David, Voituriez, R., Samitier, Josep, Sanchez, Samuel, (2018). Directed flow of micromotors through alignment interactions with micropatterned ratchets ACS Nano In press

To achieve control over naturally diffusive, out-of-equilibrium systems composed of self-propelled particles, such as cells or self-phoretic colloids, is a long-standing challenge in active matter physics. The inherently random motion of these active particles can be rectified in the presence of local and periodic asymmetric cues given that a non-trivial interaction exists between the self-propelled particle and the cues. Here, we exploit the phoretic and hydrodynamic interactions of synthetic micromotors with local topographical features to break the time-reversal symmetry of particle trajectories and to direct a macroscopic flow of micromotors. We show that the orientational alignment induced on the micromotors by the topographical features, together with their geometrical asymmetry, are crucial in generating directional particle flow. We also show that our system can be used to concentrate micromotors in confined spaces and identify the interactions responsible for this effect. Finally, we develop a minimal model which identifies the main parameters of the system responsible for the observed rectification. Overall, our system allows for robust control over both temporal and spatial distribution of synthetic micromotors.


Wang, Xu, Sridhar, Varun, Guo, Surong, Talebi, Nahid, Miguel-López, Albert, Hahn, Kersten, van Aken, Peter A., Sánchez, Samuel, (2018). Fuel-free nanocap-like motors actuated under visible light Advanced Functional Materials 28, (25), 1705862

The motion of nanomotors triggered by light sources will provide new alternative routes to power nanoarchitectures without the need of chemical fuels. However, most light-driven nanomotors are triggered by UV-light, near infrared reflection, or laser sources. It is demonstrated that nanocap shaped Au/TiO2 nanomotors (175 nm in diameter) display increased Brownian motion in the presence of broad spectrum visible light. The motion results from the surface plasmon resonance effect leading to self-electrophoresis between the Au and TiO2 layers, a mechanism called plasmonic photocatalytic effect in the field of photocatalysis. This mechanism is experimentally characterized by electron energy loss spectroscopy, energy-filtered transmission electron microscopy, and optical video tracking. This mechanism is also studied in a more theoretical manner using numerical finite-difference time-domain simulations. The ability to power nanomaterials with visible light may result in entirely new applications for externally powered micro/nanomotors.

Keywords: Enhanced Brownian motion, Fuel-free nanomotors, Nanomachines, Self-electrophoresis, Visible light


Romeo, Agostino, Moya, Ana, Leung, Tammy S., Gabriel, Gemma, Villa, Rosa, Sánchez, Samuel, (2018). Inkjet printed flexible non-enzymatic glucose sensor for tear fluid analysis Applied Materials Today 10, 133-141

Here, we present a flexible and low-cost inkjet printed electrochemical sensor for enzyme-free glucose analysis. Versatility, short fabrication time and low cost make inkjet printing a valuable alternative to traditional sensor manufacturing techniques. We fabricated electro-chemical glucose sensors by inkjet printing electrodes on a flexible polyethylene terephthalate substrate. CuO microparticles were used to modify our electrodes, leading to a sensitive, stable and cost-effective platform for non-enzymatic detection of glucose. Selectivity, reproducibility, and life-time provided by the CuO functionalization demonstrated that these sensors are reliable tools for personalized diagnostics and self-assessment of an individual's health. The detection of glucose at concentrations matching that of tear fluid allows us to envisage applications in ocular diagnostics, where painless and non-invasive monitoring of diabetes can be achieved by analyzing glucose contained in tears.

Keywords: Inkjet printing, Non-enzymatic sensor, Glucose, Copper oxide, Tear analysis


Vilela, Diana, Cossío, Unai, Parmar, Jemish, Martínez-Villacorta, Angel M., Gómez-Vallejo, Vanessa, Llop, Jordi, Sánchez, Samuel, (2018). Medical imaging for the tracking of micromotors ACS Nano 12, (2), 1120-1227

Micro/nanomotors are useful tools for several biomedical applications, including targeted drug delivery and minimally invasive microsurgeries. However, major challenges such as in vivo imaging need to be addressed before they can be safely applied on a living body. Here, we show that positron emission tomography (PET), a molecular imaging technique widely used in medical imaging, can also be used to track a large population of tubular Au/PEDOT/Pt micromotors. Chemisorption of an iodine isotope onto the micromotor’s Au surface rendered them detectable by PET, and we could track their movements in a tubular phantom over time frames of up to 15 min. In a second set of experiments, micromotors and the bubbles released during self-propulsion were optically tracked by video imaging and bright-field microscopy. The results from direct optical tracking agreed with those from PET tracking, demonstrating that PET is a suitable technique for the imaging of large populations of active micromotors in opaque environments, thus opening opportunities for the use of this mature imaging technology for the in vivo localization of artificial swimmers.


Parmar, Jemish, Vilela, Diana, Villa, Katherine, Wang, Joseph, Sanchez, Samuel, (2018). Micro- and nanomotors as active environmental microcleaners and sensors Journal of the American Chemical Society In press

The quest to provide clean water to the entire population has led to a tremendous boost in the development of environmental nanotechnology. Towards this end, micro/nanomotors are emerging as attractive tools to improve the removal of various pollutants. The micro/nanomotors are either designed with functional materials in their structure, or are modified to target pollutants. The active motion of these motors improves the mixing and mass transfer, greatly enhancing the rate of various remediation processes. Their motion can also be used as an indicator of the presence of a pollutant for sensing purposes. In this Perspective, we discuss different chemical aspects of micromotors mediated environmental clean-up and sensing strategies along with their scalability, reuse and cost associated challenges.


Xuan, Mingjun, Mestre, Rafael, Gao, Changyong, Zhou, Chang, He, Qiang, Sánchez, Samuel, (2018). Noncontinuous super-diffusive dynamics of a light-activated nanobottle motor Angewandte Chemie International Edition 57, (23), 6838-6842

Abstract We report a carbonaceous nanobottle (CNB) motor for near infrared (NIR) light-driven jet propulsion. The bottle structure of the CNB motor is fabricated by soft-template-based polymerization. Upon illumination with NIR light, the photothermal effect of the CNB motor carbon shell causes a rapid increase in the temperature of the water inside the nanobottle and thus the ejection of the heated fluid from the open neck, which propels the CNB motor. The occurrence of an explosion, the on/off motion, and the swing behavior of the CNB motor can be modulated by adjusting the NIR light source. Moreover, we simulated the physical field distribution (temperature, fluid velocity, and pressure) of the CNB motor to demonstrate the mechanism of NIR light-driven jet propulsion. This NIR light-powered CNB motor exhibits fuel-free propulsion and control of the swimming velocity by external light and has great potential for future biomedical applications.


Mestre, Rafael, Patiño, Tania, Barceló, Xavier, Sanchez, Samuel, (2018). 3D Bioprinted muscle-based bio-actuators: Force adaptability due to training Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems 7th International Conference, Living Machines 2018 , Springer International Publishing (Paris, France) Living Machines 2018, 316-320

The integration of biological tissue and artificial materials plays a fundamental role in the development of biohybrid soft robotics, a subfield in the field of soft robotics trying to achieve a higher degree of complexity by taking advantage of the exceptional capabilities of biological systems, like self-healing or responsiveness to external stimuli. In this work, we present a proof-of-concept 3D bioprinted bio-actuator made of skeletal muscle tissue and PDMS, which can act as a force measuring platform. The 3D bioprinting technique, which has not been used for the development of bio-actuators, offers unique versatility by allowing a simple, biocompatible and fast fabrication of hybrid multi-component systems. Furthermore, we prove controllability of contractions and functionality of the bio-actuator after applying electric pulses by measuring the exerted forces. We observe an increased force output in time, suggesting improved maturation of the tissue, opening up possibilities for force adaptability or modulation due to prolonged electrical stimuli.


Parmar, J., Villa, K., Vilela, D., Sánchez, S., (2017). Platinum-free cobalt ferrite based micromotors for antibiotic removal Applied Materials Today 9, 605-611

Self-propelled micromotors have previously shown to enhance pollutant removal compared to non-motile nano-micro particles. However, these systems are expensive, difficult to scale-up and require surfactant for efficient work. Efficient and inexpensive micromotors are desirable for their practical applications in water treatment technologies. We describe cobalt-ferrite based micromotors (CFO micromotors) fabricated by a facile and scalable synthesis, that produce hydroxyl radicals via Fenton-like reaction and take advantage of oxygen gas generated during this reaction for self-propulsion. Once the reaction is complete, the CFO micromotors can be easily separated and collected due to their magnetic nature. The CFO micromotors are demonstrated for highly efficient advanced oxidative removal of tetracycline antibiotic from the water. Furthermore, the effects of different concentrations of micromotors and hydrogen peroxide on the antibiotic degradation were studied, as well as the generation of the highly reactive hydroxyl radicals responsible for the oxidation reaction.

Keywords: Degradation, Fenton reaction, Microbots, Nanomotors, Self-propelled Micromotors, Water treatment


Katuri, Jaideep, Ma, Xing, Stanton, Morgan M., Sánchez, Samuel, (2017). Designing micro- and nanoswimmers for specific applications Accounts of Chemical Research 50, (1), 2-11

Conspectus: Self-propelled colloids have emerged as a new class of active matter over the past decade. These are micrometer sized colloidal objects that transduce free energy from their surroundings and convert it to directed motion. The self-propelled colloids are in many ways, the synthetic analogues of biological self-propelled units such as algae or bacteria. Although they are propelled by very different mechanisms, biological swimmers are typically powered by flagellar motion and synthetic swimmers are driven by local chemical reactions, they share a number of common features with respect to swimming behavior. They exhibit run-and-tumble like behavior, are responsive to environmental stimuli, and can even chemically interact with nearby swimmers. An understanding of self-propelled colloids could help us in understanding the complex behaviors that emerge in populations of natural microswimmers. Self-propelled colloids also offer some advantages over natural microswimmers, since the surface properties, propulsion mechanisms, and particle geometry can all be easily modified to meet specific needs. From a more practical perspective, a number of applications, ranging from environmental remediation to targeted drug delivery, have been envisioned for these systems. These applications rely on the basic functionalities of self-propelled colloids: directional motion, sensing of the local environment, and the ability to respond to external signals. Owing to the vastly different nature of each of these applications, it becomes necessary to optimize the design choices in these colloids. There has been a significant effort to develop a range of synthetic self-propelled colloids to meet the specific conditions required for different processes. Tubular self-propelled colloids, for example, are ideal for decontamination processes, owing to their bubble propulsion mechanism, which enhances mixing in systems, but are incompatible with biological systems due to the toxic propulsion fuel and the generation of oxygen bubbles. Spherical swimmers serve as model systems to understand the fundamental aspects of the propulsion mechanism, collective behavior, response to external stimuli, etc. They are also typically the choice of shape at the nanoscale due to their ease of fabrication. More recently biohybrid swimmers have also been developed which attempt to retain the advantages of synthetic colloids while deriving their propulsion from biological swimmers such as sperm and bacteria, offering the means for biocompatible swimming. In this Account, we will summarize our effort and those of other groups, in the design and development of self-propelled colloids of different structural properties and powered by different propulsion mechanisms. We will also briefly address the applications that have been proposed and, to some extent, demonstrated for these swimmer designs.


Stanton, Morgan M., Park, Byung-Wook, Vilela, Diana, Bente, Klaas, Faivre, Damien, Sitti, Metin, Sanchez, Samuel, (2017). Magnetotactic bacteria powered biohybrids target E. coli biofilms ACS Nano 11, (10), 9968-9978

Biofilm colonies are typically resistant to general antibiotic treatment and require targeted methods for their removal. One of these methods include the use of nanoparticles as carriers for antibiotic delivery, where they randomly circulate in fluid until they make contact with the infected areas. However, the required proximity of the particles to the biofilm results in only moderate efficacy. We demonstrate here that the non-pathogenic magnetotactic bacteria, Magnetosopirrillum gryphiswalense (MSR-1), can be integrated with drug-loaded mesoporous silica microtubes (MSMs) to build controllable microswimmers (biohybrids) capable of antibiotic delivery to target an infectious biofilm. Applying external magnetic guidance capability and swimming power of the MSR-1 cells, the biohybrids are directed to and forcefully pushed into matured Escherichia coli (E. coli) biofilms. Release of the antibiotic, ciprofloxacin (CFX), is triggered by the acidic microenvironment of the biofilm ensuring an efficient drug delivery system. The results reveal the capabilities of a non-pathogenic bacteria species to target and dismantle harmful biofilms, indicating biohybrid systems have great potential for anti-biofilm applications.


Stanton, Morgan M., Sánchez, Samuel, (2017). Pushing bacterial biohybrids to in vivo applications Trends in Biotechnology 35, (10), 910-913

Bacterial biohybrids use the energy of bacteria to manipulate synthetic materials with the goal of solving biomedical problems at the micro- and nanoscale. We explore current in vitro studies of bacterial biohybrids, the first attempts at in vivo biohybrid research, and problems to be addressed for the future.

Keywords: Bacteria, Biohybrid, Microswimmers, Micromotors, Drug delivery


Stanton, M. M., Park, B. W., Miguel-López, A., Ma, X., Sitti, M., Sánchez, S., (2017). Biohybrid microtube swimmers driven by single captured bacteria Small 13, (19), 1603679

Bacteria biohybrids employ the motility and power of swimming bacteria to carry and maneuver microscale particles. They have the potential to perform microdrug and cargo delivery in vivo, but have been limited by poor design, reduced swimming capabilities, and impeded functionality. To address these challenge, motile Escherichia coli are captured inside electropolymerized microtubes, exhibiting the first report of a bacteria microswimmer that does not utilize a spherical particle chassis. Single bacterium becomes partially trapped within the tube and becomes a bioengine to push the microtube though biological media. Microtubes are modified with "smart" material properties for motion control, including a bacteria-attractant polydopamine inner layer, addition of magnetic components for external guidance, and a biochemical kill trigger to cease bacterium swimming on demand. Swimming dynamics of the bacteria biohybrid are quantified by comparing "length of protrusion" of bacteria from the microtubes with respect to changes in angular autocorrelation and swimmer mean squared displacement. The multifunctional microtubular swimmers present a new generation of biocompatible micromotors toward future microbiorobots and minimally invasive medical applications.

Keywords: Biohybrids, E. coli, Micromotors, Microswimmers, Polydopamine


Vilela, D., Stanton, M. M., Parmar, J., Sánchez, S., (2017). Microbots decorated with silver nanoparticles kill bacteria in aqueous media ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 9, (27), 22093-22100

Water contamination is one of the most persistent problems of public health. Resistance of some pathogens to conventional disinfectants can require the combination of multiple disinfectants or increased disinfectant doses, which may produce harmful byproducts. Here, we describe an efficient method for disinfecting Escherichia coli and removing the bacteria from contaminated water using water self-propelled Janus microbots decorated with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). The structure of a spherical Janus microbot consists of a magnesium (Mg) microparticle as a template that also functions as propulsion source by producing hydrogen bubbles when in contact with water, an inner iron (Fe) magnetic layer for their remote guidance and collection, and an outer AgNP-coated gold (Au) layer for bacterial adhesion and improving bactericidal properties. The active motion of microbots increases the chances of the contact of AgNPs on the microbot surface with bacteria, which provokes the selective Ag+ release in their cytoplasm, and the microbot self-propulsion increases the diffusion of the released Ag+ ions. In addition, the AgNP-coated Au cap of the microbots has a dual capability of capturing bacteria and then killing them. Thus, we have demonstrated that AgNP-coated Janus microbots are capable of efficiently killing more than 80% of E. coli compared with colloidal AgNPs that killed only less than 35% of E. coli in contaminated water solutions in 15 min. After capture and extermination of bacteria, magnetic properties of the cap allow collection of microbots from water along with the captured dead bacteria, leaving water with no biological contaminants. The presented biocompatible Janus microbots offer an encouraging method for rapid disinfection of water.

Keywords: Bactericidal, Magnetic control, Micromotors, Microswimmers, Self-propulsion, Silver nanoparticles


Vilela, D., Hortelao, A. C., Balderas-Xicohtencatl, R., Hirscher, M., Hahn, K., Ma, X., Sanchez, S., (2017). Facile fabrication of mesoporous silica micro-jets with multi-functionalities Nanoscale 9, 13990

Self-propelled micro/nano-devices have been proved as powerful tools in various applications given their capability of both autonomous motion and on-demand task fulfilment. Tubular micro-jets stand out as an important member in the family of self-propelled micro/nano-devices and are widely explored with respect to their fabrication and functionalization. A few methods are currently available for the fabrication of tubular micro-jets, nevertheless there is still a demand to explore the fabrication of tubular micro-jets made of versatile materials and with the capability of multi-functionalization. Here, we present a facile strategy for the fabrication of mesoporous silica micro-jets (MSMJs) for tubular micromotors which can carry out multiple tasks depending on their functionalities. The synthesis of MSMJs does not require the use of any equipment, making it facile and cost-effective for future practical use. The MSMJs can be modified inside, outside or both with different kinds of metal nanoparticles, which provide these micromotors with a possibility of additional properties, such as the anti-bacterial effect by silver nanoparticles, or biochemical sensing based on surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) by gold nanoparticles. Because of the high porosity, high surface area and also the easy surface chemistry process, the MSMJs can be employed for the efficient removal of heavy metals in contaminated water, as well as for the controlled and active drug delivery, as two proof-of-concept examples of environmental and biomedical applications, respectively. Therefore, taking into account the new, simple and cheap method of fabrication, highly porous structure, and multiple functionalities, the mesoporous silica based micro-jets can serve as efficient tools for desired applications.


Ma, Xing, Sánchez, Samuel, (2017). Self-propelling micro-nanorobots: challenges and future perspectives in nanomedicine Nanomedicine 12, (12), 1363-1367

Simmchen, Juliane, Baeza, Alejandro, Miguel-Lopez, Albert, Stanton, Morgan M., Vallet-Regi, Maria, Ruiz-Molina, Daniel, Sánchez, Samuel, (2017). Dynamics of novel photoactive AgCl microstars and their environmental applications ChemNanoMat 3, (1), 65-71

In the field of micromotors many efforts are taken to find a substitute for peroxide as fuel. While most approaches turn towards other toxic high energy chemicals such as hydrazine, we introduce an energy source that is widely used in nature: light. Light is an ideal source of energy and some materials, such as AgCl, have the inherent property to transform light energy for chemical processes, which can be used to achieve propulsion. In the case of silver chloride, one observed process after light exposure is surface modification which leads to the release of ions generating chemo-osmotic gradients. Here we present endeavours to use those processes to propel uniquely shaped micro objects of micro star morphology with a high surface to volume ratio, study their dynamics and present approaches to go towards real environmental applications.

Keywords: Self-propellers, Silver chloride, Environmental applications, Photoactive colloids, Anti bacterial


Ma, X., Sánchez, S., (2017). Bio-catalytic mesoporous Janus nano-motors powered by catalase enzyme Tetrahedron 73, (33), 4883-4886

Enzyme triggered bio-catalytic reactions convert chemical energy into mechanical force to power micro/nano-machines. Though there have been reports about enzymes powered micro/nano-motors, enzymatic Janus nano-motor smaller than 100 nm has not been reported yet. Here, we prepared an enzyme powered Janus nano-motor by half-capping a thin layer of silicon dioxide (4 nm SiO2) onto a mesoporous silica nanoparticle (MSNP) of 90 nm, enabling asymmetry to the nano-architecture. The nano-motors are chemically powered by the decomposition of H2O2 triggered by the enzyme catalase located at one face of the nanoparticles. The self-propulsion is characterized by dynamic light scattering (DLS) and optical microscopy. The apparent diffusion coefficient was enhanced by 150% compared to their Brownian motion at low H2O2 concentration (i.e. below 3 wt%). Mesoporous nano-motors might serve as active drug delivery nano-systems in future biomedical applications such as intracellular drug delivery.

Keywords: Enzyme catalysis, Janus particles, Mesoporous silica, Nano-motors, Nanomachine, Self-propulsion


Ma, Xing, Horteläo, Ana C., Patiño, Tania, Sánchez, Samuel, (2016). Enzyme catalysis to power micro/nanomachines ACS Nano 10, (10), 9111–9122

Enzymes play a crucial role in many biological processes which require harnessing and converting free chemical energy into kinetic forces in order to accomplish tasks. Enzymes are considered to be molecular machines, not only because of their capability of energy conversion in biological systems but also because enzymatic catalysis can result in enhanced diffusion of enzymes at a molecular level. Enlightened by nature’s design of biological machinery, researchers have investigated various types of synthetic micro/nanomachines by using enzymatic reactions to achieve self-propulsion of micro/nanoarchitectures. Yet, the mechanism of motion is still under debate in current literature. Versatile proof-of-concept applications of these enzyme-powered micro/nanodevices have been recently demonstrated. In this review, we focus on discussing enzymes not only as stochastic swimmers but also as nanoengines to power self-propelled synthetic motors. We present an overview on different enzyme-powered micro/nanomachines, the current debate on their motion mechanism, methods to provide motion and speed control, and an outlook of the future potentials of this multidisciplinary field.


Ma, Xing, Wang, Xu, Hahn, Kersten, Sánchez, Samuel, (2016). Motion control of urea powered biocompatible hollow microcapsules ACS Nano 10, (3), 3597-3605

The quest for biocompatible micro-swimmers powered by compatible fuel and with full motion control over their self-propulsion is a long-standing challenge in the field of active matter and microrobotics. Here, we present an active hybrid microcapsule motor based on Janus hollow mesoporous silica micro particles (JHP) powered by the bio-catalytic decomposition of urea at physiological concentrations. The directional self-propelled motion lasts longer than 10 minutes with an average velocity of up to 5 body lengths per second. Additionally, we control the velocity of the micro-motor by chemically inhibiting and reactivating the enzymatic activity of urease. The incorporation of magnetic material within the Janus structure provides remote magnetic control on the movement direction. Furthermore, the mesoporous/hollow structure can load both small molecules and larger particles up to hundreds of nano-meters, making the hybrid micro-motor an active and controllable drug delivery micro-system.


Ma, Xing, Jang, Seungwook, Popescu, Mihail N., Uspal, William E., Miguel-López, Albert, Hahn, Kersten, Kiam, Dong-Pyo, Sánchez, Samuel, (2016). Reversed Janus micro/nanomotors with internal chemical engine ACS Nano 10, (9), 8751-8759

Self-motile Janus colloids are important for enabling a wide variety of microtechnology applications as well as for improving our understanding of the mechanisms of motion of artificial micro- and nanoswimmers. We present here micro/nanomotors which possess a reversed Janus structure of an internal catalytic “chemical engine”. The catalytic material (here platinum (Pt)) is embedded within the interior of the mesoporous silica (mSiO2)-based hollow particles and triggers the decomposition of H2O2 when suspended in an aqueous peroxide (H2O2) solution. The pores/gaps at the noncatalytic (Pt) hemisphere allow the exchange of chemical species in solution between the exterior and the interior of the particle. By varying the diameter of the particles, we observed size-dependent motile behavior in the form of enhanced diffusion for 500 nm particles, and self-phoretic motion, toward the nonmetallic part, for 1.5 and 3 μm ones. The direction of motion was rationalized by a theoretical model based on self-phoresis. For the 3 μm particles, a change in the morphology of the porous part is observed, which is accompanied by a change in the mechanism of propulsion via bubble nucleation and ejection as well as a change in the direction of motion.


Ma, Xing, Hortelao, Ana C., Miguel-López, Albert, Sánchez, Samuel, (2016). Bubble-free propulsion of ultrasmall tubular nanojets powered by biocatalytic reactions Journal of the American Chemical Society 138, (42), 13782–13785

The motion of self-propelled tubular micro- and nanojets has so far been achieved by bubble propulsion, e.g., O2 bubbles formed by catalytic decomposition of H2O2, which renders future biomedical applications inviable. An alternative self-propulsion mechanism for tubular engines on the nanometer scale is still missing. Here, we report the fabrication and characterization of bubble-free propelled tubular nanojets (as small as 220 nm diameter), powered by an enzyme-triggered biocatalytic reaction using urea as fuel. We studied the translational and rotational dynamics of the nanojets as functions of the length and location of the enzymes. Introducing tracer nanoparticles into the system, we demonstrated the presence of an internal flow that extends into the external fluid via the cavity opening, leading to the self-propulsion. One-dimensional nanosize, longitudinal self-propulsion, and biocompatibility make the tubular nanojets promising for future biomedical applications.


Vilela, Diana, Parmar, Jemish, Zeng, Yongfei, Zhao, Yanli, Sánchez, Samuel, (2016). Graphene based microbots for toxic heavy metal removal and recovery from water Nano Letters 16, (4), 2860-2866

Heavy metal contamination in water is a serious risk to the public health and other life forms on earth. Current research in nanotechnology is developing new nanosystems and nanomaterials for the fast and efficient removal of pollutants and heavy metals from water. Here, we report graphene oxide-based microbots (GOx-microbots) as active self-propelled systems for the capture, transfer, and removal of a heavy metal (i.e., lead) and its subsequent recovery for recycling purposes. Microbots’ structure consists of nanosized multilayers of graphene oxide, nickel, and platinum, providing different functionalities. The outer layer of graphene oxide captures lead on the surface, and the inner layer of platinum functions as the engine decomposing hydrogen peroxide fuel for self-propulsion, while the middle layer of nickel enables external magnetic control of the microbots. Mobile GOx-microbots remove lead 10 times more efficiently than nonmotile GOx-microbots, cleaning water from 1000 ppb down to below 50 ppb in 60 min. Furthermore, after chemical detachment of lead from the surface of GOx-microbots, the microbots can be reused. Finally, we demonstrate the magnetic control of the GOx-microbots inside a microfluidic system as a proof-of-concept for automatic microbots-based system to remove and recover heavy metals.


Parmar, J., Vilela, D., Pellicer, E., Esqué-de los Ojos, D., Sort, J., Sánchez, S., (2016). Reusable and long-lasting active microcleaners for heterogeneous water remediation Advanced Functional Materials 26, (23), 4152-4161

Self-powered micromachines are promising tools for future environmental remediation technology. Waste-water treatment and water reuse is an essential part of environmental sustainability. Herein, we present reusable Fe/Pt multi-functional active microcleaners that are capable of degrading organic pollutants (malachite green and 4-nitrophenol) by generated hydroxyl radicals via a Fenton-like reaction. Various different properties of microcleaners, such as the effect of their size, short-term storage, long-term storage, reusability, continuous swimming capability, surface composition, and mechanical properties, are studied. It is found that these microcleaners can continuously swim for more than 24 hours and can be stored more than 5 weeks during multiple cleaning cycles. The produced microcleaners can also be reused, which reduces the cost of the process. During the reuse cycles the outer iron surface of the Fe/Pt microcleaners generates the in-situ, heterogeneous Fenton catalyst and releases a low concentration of iron into the treated water, while the mechanical properties also appear to be improved due to both its surface composition and structural changes. The microcleaners are characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), nanoindentation, and finite-element modeling (FEM).

Keywords: Catalysts, Heterogeneous catalysis, Microcleaners, Micromotors, Nanorobots, Wastewater treatment


Simmchen, J., Katuri, J., Uspal, W. E., Popescu, M. N., Tasinkevych, M., Sánchez, S., (2016). Topographical pathways guide chemical microswimmers Nature Communications 7, 10598

Achieving control over the directionality of active colloids is essential for their use in practical applications such as cargo carriers in microfluidic devices. So far, guidance of spherical Janus colloids was mainly realized using specially engineered magnetic multilayer coatings combined with external magnetic fields. Here we demonstrate that step-like submicrometre topographical features can be used as reliable docking and guiding platforms for chemically active spherical Janus colloids. For various topographic features (stripes, squares or circular posts), docking of the colloid at the feature edge is robust and reliable. Furthermore, the colloids move along the edges for significantly long times, which systematically increase with fuel concentration. The observed phenomenology is qualitatively captured by a simple continuum model of self-diffusiophoresis near confining boundaries, indicating that the chemical activity and associated hydrodynamic interactions with the nearby topography are the main physical ingredients behind the observed behaviour.


Maggi, Claudio, Simmchen, Juliane, Saglimbeni, Filippo, Katuri, Jaideep, Dipalo, Michele, De Angelis, Francesco, Sánchez, Samuel, Di Leonardo, Roberto, (2016). Self-assembly of micromachining systems powered by Janus micromotors Small 12, (4), 446-451

Janus particles can self-assemble around microfabricated gears in reproducible configurations with a high degree of spatial and orientational order. The final configuration maximizes the torque applied on the rotor leading to a unidirectional and steady rotating motion. The interplay between geometry and dynamical behavior leads to the self-assembly of Janus micromotors starting from randomly distributed particles.

Keywords: Active catalytic particles, Microgears, Micromachines, Janus particles, Self-assembly, Self-propulsion


Katuri, J., Seo, K. D., Kim, D. S., Sánchez, S., (2016). Artificial micro-swimmers in simulated natural environments Lab on a Chip 16, (7), 1101-1105

Microswimmers, such as bacteria, are known to show different behaviours depending on their local environment. They identify spatial chemical gradients to find nutrient rich areas (chemotaxis) and interact with shear flows to accumulate in high shear regions. Recently, artificial microswimmers have been developed which mimic their natural counterparts in many ways. One of the exciting topics in this field is to study these artificial motors in several natural settings like the ones bacteria interact with. In this Focus article, we summarize recent observations of artificial swimmers in chemical gradients, shear flows and other interesting natural environments simulated in the lab using microfluidics and nanotechnology.


Vilela, Diana, Romeo, Agostino, Sánchez, Samuel, (2016). Flexible sensors for biomedical technology Lab on a Chip 16, (3), 402-408

Flexible sensing devices have gained a great deal of attention among the scientific community in recent years. The application of flexible sensors spans over several fields, including medicine, industrial automation, robotics, security, and human-machine interfacing. In particular, non-invasive health-monitoring devices are expected to play a key role in the improvement of patient life and in reducing costs associated with clinical and biomedical diagnostic procedures. Here, we focus on recent advances achieved in flexible devices applied on the human skin for biomedical and healthcare purposes.


Safdar, M., Janis, J., Sánchez, S., (2016). Microfluidic fuel cells for energy generation Lab on a Chip 16, (15), 2754-2758

Sustainable energy generation is of recent interest due to a growing energy demand across the globe and increasing environmental issues caused by conventional non-renewable means of power generation. In the context of microsystems, portable electronics and lab-on-a-chip based (bio)chemical sensors would essentially require fully integrated, reliable means of power generation. Microfluidic-based fuel cells can offer unique advantages compared to conventional fuel cells such as high surface area-to-volume ratio, ease of integration, cost effectiveness and portability. Here, we summarize recent developments which utilize the potential of microfluidic devices for energy generation.


Patino, T., Mestre, R., Sánchez, S., (2016). Miniaturized soft bio-hybrid robotics: a step forward into healthcare applications Lab on a Chip 16, (19), 3626-3630

Soft robotics is an emerging discipline that employs soft flexible materials such as fluids, gels and elastomers in order to enhance the use of robotics in healthcare applications. Compared to their rigid counterparts, soft robotic systems have flexible and rheological properties that are closely related to biological systems, thus allowing the development of adaptive and flexible interactions with complex dynamic environments. With new technologies arising in bioengineering, the integration of living cells into soft robotic systems offers the possibility of accomplishing multiple complex functions such as sensing and actuating upon external stimuli. These emerging bio-hybrid systems are showing promising outcomes and opening up new avenues in the field of soft robotics for applications in healthcare and other fields.


Caballero, D., Katuri, J., Samitier, J., Sánchez, S., (2016). Motion in microfluidic ratchets Lab on a Chip 16, (23), 4477-4481

The ubiquitous random motion of mesoscopic active particles, such as cells, can be “rectified” or directed by embedding the particles in systems containing local and periodic asymmetric cues. Incorporated on lab-on-a-chip devices, these microratchet-like structures can be used to self-propel fluids, transport particles, and direct cell motion in the absence of external power sources. In this Focus article we discuss recent advances in the use of ratchet-like geometries in microfluidics which could open new avenues in biomedicine for applications in diagnosis, cancer biology, and bioengineering.


Romeo, A., Leung, T. S., Sánchez, S., (2016). Smart biosensors for multiplexed and fully integrated point-of-care diagnostics Lab on a Chip 16, (11), 1957-1961

Point-of-care diagnostics (PoC) and personalised medicine are highly valuable for the improvement of world health. Smartphone PoC platforms which precisely diagnose diseases and track their development through the detection of several bioanalytes represent one of the newest and most exciting advancements towards mass-screening applications. Here we focus on recent advances in both multiplexed and smartphone integrated PoC sensors.


Stanton, Morgan M., Simmchen, Juliane, Ma, Xing, Miguel-López, Albert, Sánchez, Samuel, (2016). Biohybrid Janus motors driven by Escherichia coli Advanced Materials Interfaces 3, (2), 1500505

There has been a significant interest in the development of microswimmers for medical drug and cargo delivery, but the majority of current micromotors rely on toxic fuel sources and materials in their design making them irrelevant for biomedical applications. Bacteria represent an excellent motor alternative, as they are powered using their surrounding biological fluids. For a motile, biohybrid swimmer, Escherichia coli (E. coli) are integrated onto metal capped, polystyrene (PS) Janus particles. Fabrication of the biohybrid is rapid and simple for a microswimmer capable of magnetic guidance and ferrying an anticancer agent. Cell adhesion is regulated as E. coli adheres only to the particle's metal caps allowing the PS surface to be utilized for drug attachment, creating a multifunctional system. E. coli adhesion is investigated on multiple metal caps (Pt, Fe, Ti, or Au) and displays a strong preference to attach to Pt surfaces over other metals. Surface hydrophobicity and surface charge are examined to interpret the cell specific adhesion on the Janus particles. The dual capability of the biohybrid to have guided cell adhesion and localized drug attachment allows the swimmer to have multiple applications for biomedical microswimmers, future bacteria-interface systems, and micro-biorobots.

Keywords: Bacteria adhesion, Biohybrids, Escherichia coli, Janus particles, Microswimmers


Ma, X., Jannasch, A., Albrecht, U. R., Hahn, K., Miguel-López, A., Schäffer, E., Sánchez, S., (2015). Enzyme-powered hollow mesoporous Janus nanomotors Nano Letters 15, (10), 7043-7050

The development of synthetic nanomotors for technological applications in particular for life science and nanomedicine is a key focus of current basic research. However, it has been challenging to make active nanosystems based on biocompatible materials consuming nontoxic fuels for providing self-propulsion. Here, we fabricate self-propelled Janus nanomotors based on hollow mesoporous silica nanoparticles (HMSNPs), which are powered by biocatalytic reactions of three different enzymes: catalase, urease, and glucose oxidase (GOx). The active motion is characterized by a mean-square displacement (MSD) analysis of optical video recordings and confirmed by dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements. We found that the apparent diffusion coefficient was enhanced by up to 83%. In addition, using optical tweezers, we directly measured a holding force of 64 ± 16 fN, which was necessary to counteract the effective self-propulsion force generated by a single nanomotor. The successful demonstration of biocompatible enzyme-powered active nanomotors using biologically benign fuels has a great potential for future biomedical applications.

Keywords: Enzyme, Hollow mesoporous silica nanoparticles, Hybrid motors, Janus particles, Nanomotors, Optical tweezers


Ma, X., Hahn, K., Sánchez, S., (2015). Catalytic mesoporous janus nanomotors for active cargo delivery Journal of the American Chemical Society 137, (15), 4976-4979

We report on the synergy between catalytic propulsion and mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs) for the design of Janus nanomotors as active cargo delivery systems with sizes <100 nm (40, 65, and 90 nm). The Janus asymmetry of the nanomotors is given by electron beam (e-beam) deposition of a very thin platinum (2 nm) layer on MSNPs. The chemically powered Janus nanomotors present active diffusion at low H2O2 fuel concentration (i.e., <3 wt %). Their apparent diffusion coefficient is enhanced up to 100% compared to their Brownian motion. Due to their mesoporous architecture and small dimensions, they can load cargo molecules in large quantity and serve as active nanocarriers for directed cargo delivery on a chip.


Sánchez, S., Soler, L., Katuri, J., (2015). Chemically powered micro- and nanomotors Angewandte Chemie - International Edition 54, (4), 1414-1444

Chemically powered micro- and nanomotors are small devices that are self-propelled by catalytic reactions in fluids. Taking inspiration from biomotors, scientists are aiming to find the best architecture for self-propulsion, understand the mechanisms of motion, and develop accurate control over the motion. Remotely guided nanomotors can transport cargo to desired targets, drill into biomaterials, sense their environment, mix or pump fluids, and clean polluted water. This Review summarizes the major advances in the growing field of catalytic nanomotors, which started ten years ago.

Keywords: Catalysis, Micromotors, Nanomotors, Robots, Self-propulsion


Ma, X., Katuri, J., Zeng, Y., Zhao, Y., Sánchez, S., (2015). Surface conductive graphene-wrapped micromotors exhibiting enhanced motion Small 11, (38), 5023–5027

Surface-conductive Janus spherical motors are fabricated by wrapping silica particles with reduced graphene oxide capped with a thin Pt layer. These motors exhibit a 100% enhanced velocity as compared to standard SiO2–Pt motors. Furthermore, the versatility of graphene may open up possibilities for a diverse range of applications from active drug delivery systems to water remediation.

Keywords: Enhanced speed, Graphene wrapping, Janus micromotors, Janus particles, Micromotors, Surface conduction


Choudhury, Udit, Soler, Lluis, Gibbs, John, Sánchez, Samuel, Fischer, Peer, (2015). Surface roughness-induced speed increase for active Janus micromotors Chemical Communications 51, 8660-8663

We demonstrate a simple physical fabrication method to obtain self-propelled active Janus microparticles with rough catalytic platinum surfaces that show a four-fold increase in their propulsion speed compared to conventional Janus particles coated with a smooth Pt layer.


Stanton, M. M., Trichet-Paredes, C., Sánchez, S., (2015). Applications of three-dimensional (3D) printing for microswimmers and bio-hybrid robotics Lab on a Chip 15, (7), 1634-1637

This article will focus on recent reports that have applied three-dimensional (3D) printing for designing millimeter to micrometer architecture for robotic motility. The utilization of 3D printing has rapidly grown in applications for medical prosthetics and scaffolds for organs and tissue, but more recently has been implemented for designing mobile robotics. With an increase in the demand for devices to perform in fragile and confined biological environments, it is crucial to develop new miniaturized, biocompatible 3D systems. Fabrication of materials at different scales with different properties makes 3D printing an ideal system for creating frameworks for small-scale robotics. 3D printing has been applied for the design of externally powered, artificial microswimmers and studying their locomotive capabilities in different fluids. Printed materials have also been incorporated with motile cells for bio-hybrid robots capable of functioning by cell contraction and swimming. These 3D devices offer new methods of robotic motility for biomedical applications requiring miniature structures. Traditional 3D printing methods, where a structure is fabricated in an additive process from a digital design, and non-traditional 3D printing methods, such as lithography and molding, will be discussed.


Stanton, M. M., Samitier, J., Sánchez, S., (2015). Bioprinting of 3D hydrogels Lab on a Chip 15, (15), 3111-3115

Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting has recently emerged as an extension of 3D material printing, by using biocompatible or cellular components to build structures in an additive, layer-by-layer methodology for encapsulation and culture of cells. These 3D systems allow for cell culture in a suspension for formation of highly organized tissue or controlled spatial orientation of cell environments. The in vitro 3D cellular environments simulate the complexity of an in vivo environment and natural extracellular matrices (ECM). This paper will focus on bioprinting utilizing hydrogels as 3D scaffolds. Hydrogels are advantageous for cell culture as they are highly permeable to cell culture media, nutrients, and waste products generated during metabolic cell processes. They have the ability to be fabricated in customized shapes with various material properties with dimensions at the micron scale. 3D hydrogels are a reliable method for biocompatible 3D printing and have applications in tissue engineering, drug screening, and organ on a chip models.


Seo, K. D., Kim, D. S., Sánchez, S., (2015). Fabrication and applications of complex-shaped microparticles via microfluidics Lab on a Chip 15, (18), 3622-3626

Complex-shaped microparticles (MPs) have attracted extensive interest in a myriad of scientific and engineering fields in recent years for their distinct morphology and capability in combining different functions within a single particle. Microfluidic techniques offer an intriguing method for fabricating MPs with excellent monodispersity and complex morphology in parallel while controlling their number and size precisely and independently. To date, there are two notable microfluidics approaches for the synthesis of complex-shaped MPs, namely droplet based, and flow-lithography based microfluidics approaches. It is undoubted that the application of complex-shaped MPs via microfluidic fabrication will hold great promise in a variety of fields including microfabrication, analytical chemistry and biomedicine.


Parmar, Jemish, Jang, Seungwook, Soler, Lluis, Kim, Dong-Pyo, Sánchez, Samuel, (2015). Nano-photocatalysts in microfluidics, energy conversion and environmental applications Lab on a Chip 15, 2352-2356

Extensive studies have been carried out on photocatalytic materials in recent years as photocatalytic reactions offer a promising solution for solar energy conversion and environmental remediation. Currently available commercial photocatalysts still lack efficiency and thus are economically not viable for replacing traditional sources of energy. This article focuses on recent developments in novel nano-photocatalyst materials to enhance photocatalytic activity. Recent reports on optofluidic systems, new synthesis of photocatalytic composite materials and motile photocatalysts are discussed in this article.


Wang, Lei, Sánchez, Samuel, (2015). Self-assembly via microfluidics Lab on a Chip 15, (23), 4383-4386

The self-assembly of amphiphilic building blocks has attracted extensive interest in myriad fields in recent years, due to their great potential in the nanoscale design of functional hybrid materials. Microfluidic techniques provide an intriguing method to control kinetic aspects of the self-assembly of molecular amphiphiles by the facile adjustment of the hydrodynamics of the fluids. Up to now, there have been several reports about one-step direct self-assembly of different building blocks with versatile and multi-shape products without templates, which demonstrated the advantages of microfluidics. These assemblies with different morphologies have great applications in various areas such as cancer therapy, micromotor fabrication, and controlled drug delivery.


Arayanarakool, Rerngchai, Meyer, Anne K., Helbig, Linda, Sánchez, Samuel, Schmidt, Oliver G., (2015). Tailoring three-dimensional architectures by rolled-up nanotechnology for mimicking microvasculatures Lab on a Chip 15, 2981-2989

Artificial microvasculature, particularly as part of the blood-brain barrier, has a high benefit for pharmacological drug discovery and uptake regulation. We demonstrate the fabrication of tubular structures with patterns of holes, which are capable of mimicking microvasculatures. By using photolithography, the dimensions of the cylindrical scaffolds can be precisely tuned as well as the alignment and size of holes. Overlapping holes can be tailored to create diverse three-dimensional configurations, for example, periodic nanoscaled apertures. The porous tubes, which can be made from diverse materials for differential functionalization, are biocompatible and can be modified to be biodegradable in the culture medium. As a proof of concept, endothelial cells (ECs) as well as astrocytes were cultured on these scaffolds. They form monolayers along the scaffolds, are guided by the array of holes and express tight junctions. Nanoscaled filaments of cells on these scaffolds were visualized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). This work provides the basic concept mainly for an in vitro model of microvasculature which could also be possibly implanted in vivo due to its biodegradability.


Mendes, Rafael Gregorio, Koch, Britta, Bachmatiuk, Alicja, Ma, Xing, Sánchez, Samuel, Damm, Christine, Schmidt, Oliver G., Gemming, Thomas, Eckert, Jurgen, Rummeli, Mark H., (2015). A size dependent evaluation of the cytotoxicity and uptake of nanographene oxide Journal of Materials Chemistry B 3, (12), 2522-2529

Graphene oxide (GO) has attracted great interest due to its extraordinary potential for biomedical application. Although it is clear that the naturally occurring morphology of biological structures is crucial to their precise interactions and correct functioning, the geometrical aspects of nanoparticles are often ignored in the design of nanoparticles for biological applications. A few in vitro and in vivo studies have evaluated the cytotoxicity and biodistribution of GO, however very little is known about the influence of flake size and cytotoxicity. Herein, we aim at presenting an initial cytotoxicity evaluation of different nano-sized GO flakes for two different cell lines (HeLa (Kyoto) and macrophage (J7742)) when they are exposed to samples containing different sized nanographene oxide (NGO) flakes (mean diameter of 89 and 277 nm). The obtained data suggests that the larger NGO flakes reduce cell viability as compared to smaller flakes. In addition, the viability reduction correlates with the time and the concentration of the NGO nanoparticles to which the cells are exposed. Uptake studies were also conducted and the data suggests that both cell lines internalize the GO nanoparticles during the incubation periods studied.


Paxton, W., Sánchez, S., Nitta, T., (2015). Guest editorial: Special issue micro- and nanomachines IEEE Transactions on Nanobioscience 14, (3), 258-259

The articles in this special section focus on the technologies and applications supported by micro- and nanomachines. The world of artificial micro- and nanomachines has greatly expanded over the last few years to include a range of disciplines from chemistry, physics, biology, to micro/nanoengineering, robotics, and theoretical physics. The dream of engineering nanomachines involves fabricating devices that mimic the mechanical action of biological motors that operate over multiple length scales: from molecular-scale enzymes and motors such as kinesins to the micro-scale biomachinery responsible for the motility of tiny organisms such as the flagella motors of E. coli. However, the design and fabrication of artificial nano- and micromachines with comparable performance as their biological counterparts is not a straightforward task. It requires a detailed understanding of the basic principles of the operation of biomotors and mechanisms that couple the dissipation of energy to mechanical motion. Moreover, micro engineering and microfabrication knowledge is required in order to design efficient, small and even smart micro- and nanomachines.


Seo, K. D., Kwak, B. K., Sánchez, S., Kim, D. S., (2015). Microfluidic-assisted fabrication of flexible and location traceable organo-motor IEEE Transactions on Nanobioscience 14, (3), 298-304

In this paper, we fabricate a flexible and location traceable micromotor, called organo-motor, assisted by microfluidic devices and with high throughput. The organo-motors are composed of organic hydrogel material, poly (ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA), which can provide the flexibility of their structure. For spatial and temporal traceability of the organo-motors under magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION; Fe3O4) were incorporated into the PEGDA microhydrogels. Furthermore, a thin layer of platinum (Pt) was deposited onto one side of the SPION-PEGDA microhydrogels providing geometrical asymmetry and catalytic propulsion in aqueous fluids containing hydrogen peroxide solution, H2O2. Furthermore, the motion of the organo-motor was controlled by a small external magnet enabled by the presence of SPION in the motor architecture.

Keywords: Flexible, Hydrogel, Magnetic resonance imaging, Microfluidics, Micromotor, Microparticle, Organo-motor, Poly (ethylene glycol) diacrylate, Self-propulsion, Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles


Khalil, I. S. M., Magdanz, V., Sánchez, S., Schmidt, O. G., Misra, S., (2015). Precise localization and control of catalytic janus micromotors using weak magnetic fields International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems 12, (2), 1-7

We experimentally demonstrate the precise localization of spherical Pt-Silica Janus micromotors (diameter 5 μm) under the influence of controlled magnetic fields. First, we control the motion of the Janus micromotors in two-dimensional (2D) space. The control system achieves precise localization within an average region-of-convergence of 7 μm. Second, we show that these micromotors provide sufficient propulsion force, allowing them to overcome drag and gravitational forces and move both downwards and upwards. This propulsion is studied by moving the micromotors in three-dimensional (3D) space. The micromotors move downwards and upwards at average speeds of 19.1 μm/s and 9.8 μm/s, respectively. Moreover, our closed-loop control system achieves localization in 3D space within an average region-of-convergence of 6.3 μm in diameter. The precise motion control and localization of the Janus micromotors in 2D and 3D spaces provides broad possibilities for nanotechnology applications.

Keywords: 3D space, Localization, Magnetic control, Micromotors, Self-propulsion



Equipment

  • Autolab Galvostat/potentiostat (Metrohm)
  • Dynamic light scattering (Wyatt)
  • Langmuir Blodgett (KSV NIMA)
  • Inverted Fluorescent microscope with cell incubator, galvo stage for 3D tracking (Leica DMi8); Inverted Fluorescent microscope (Leica DMI3000B); Upright microscope (Leica)
  • Video camera (1000+ fps) (Hamamatsu)
  • High speed camera (10000+ fps) (Vision Research)
  • CCD video camera (100fps) (Thorlabs)
  • Centrifuge (Eppendorf)
  • UV- Visible spectrometer (Analytik Jena)
  • 3D printer (Formlabs)
  • Wave form source; Voltage amplifier (Tabor Electronics)
  • DC power supply (Hameg)
  • Oscilloscope (Rigol)
  • Testtube heater; Eppendorf tube Shaker (Hach)
  • Oxygen Plasma cleaner (Deiner Electronics)
  • TOC Analyser (Analytik Jena)
  • Spin coater (Laurell)
  • High vacuum film deposition system (Leica Microsystems)
  • UV irradiation system (Vilber Lourmat)
  • Portable potentiostat-galvanostat and multiplexer (PalmSens)
  • Sonicator (Branson)
  • Thermolyne Furnace (Thermo Scientific)
  • Hydrothermal Reactor (Berghof)
  • Inkredible+ 3D Bioprinter (Cellink)
  • Sonicator (VWR)
  • DUO 3 Dual Stage Rotary Vane Vacuum Pump (Pfeiffer Vacuum)
  • Orbital Shaker-Incubator ES-20 (Biosan)
  • AL4000 Aladdin Double Syringe Pump (WPI)
  • MFCS-EZ Microfluidic flow control system(Fluigent)

Collaborations

  • Prof. D.P. Kim
    National Center of Applied Microfluidic Chemistry, Department of Chemical Engineering, POSTECH (Pohang University of Science and Technology), Korea
  • Prof. S. Dietrich, Dr. M. Popescu, M. Tasinkevych, Dr. W. Uspal
    Theory of Soft Condensed Matter, MPI for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, Germany
  • Prof. M. Sitti
    Physical Intelligence department, MPI for Intelligent Systems
  • Prof. R. Di Leonardo
    Universtità La Sapienza, Rome, Italy
  • Prof. J. Sort, Dr. Eva Pellicer
    Physics Department, Universitat Autònoma de Bellaterra (UAB), Spain
  • Dr. D. Esqué
    The School of Materials, The University of Manchester, UK
  • Dr. J. Llop
    CIC BiomaGUNE, San Sebastián, Spain
  • Prof. F. Ricci
    Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Chimiche Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy
  • Dr. Ll. Soler
    Institute of Energy Technologies (INTE), UPC (ETSEIB), Barcelona
  • Prof. E. Shäffer
    Center for Plant Molecular Biology (ZMBP), University of Tübingen, Germany
  • Dr. L. Albertazzi
    Nanoscopy group, IBEC
  • Prof. J. Samitier
    NanoBioengineering Group, IBEC
  • Dr. D. Caballero
    University of Minho, Portugal
  • Prof. R. Voituriez
    CNRS/Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
  • Dr. G. Gabriel and Prof. R. Villa
    Instituto de Microelectrónica de Barcelona, IMB-CNM (CSIC)
  • Dr. R. Artuch
    Laboratorio de enfermedades metabólicas hereditarias, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona.

News/Jobs


We are happy to receive CVs and enquiries from talented individuals. Prospective students and staff are encouraged to contact us to discuss possibilities. Please feel free to suggest new projects, areas of research or new ideas.

Current job openings in the group are listed on the jobs page.


“Los inventores de tu salud futura sueñan desde España”
28/03/18

Samuel Sánchez features in a long article in Retina magazine (El País).


Nanomotors can be propelled by light
17/01/18

Researchers working at IBEC and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems have developed nanomotors that are powered by a fuel-free, biofriendly and unlimited power source: light.


Enzyme-powered nanomotors deliver anti-cancer drugs more efficiently
15/12/17

IBEC researchers have demonstrated that their enzyme-powered nanobots show a marked improvement in drug delivery efficiency over passive ones.


Què Qui Com: “Menudes teràpies”
09/11/17

In the Què Qui Com program that aired yesterday on Canal 33, Samuel Sánchez, ICREA research professor at IBEC, explained the work being done in his group to develop nanorobots that can release drugs in a controlled manner.


Microswimmers use ‘good’ bacteria to target harmful biofilms
13/10/17

A paper by IBEC’s Smart nano-bio-devices group addresses the problem of biofilms, the “microbe cities” that enhance cell-to-cell communication for bacteria, allowing infection to thrive and increasing the chances of evading the immune system. In the body, they can be found in a wide variety of microbial infections, such as in the lungs of cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients.


Samuel breaks own record for smallest jet engine
26/09/17

Samuel Sanchez has broken his own Guinness World Record for the smallest jet engine.


“El Planeta de la Quimica Inteligente”
22/09/17

Samuel Sanchez is featured in an article in QUO magazine that discusses how chemistry and technology are combining to offer sustainable solutions for society and the planet.


“Diseñan microrobots que eliminan bacterias contaminantes del agua”
06/07/17

The press release about Samuel Sanchez’s recent paper in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces that describes tiny robots that can remove disease-causing bacteria from water got coverage in La Vanguardia’s Big Vang section, rTVE and other outlets.


“Swimming microbots can remove pathogenic bacteria from water”
29/06/17

ACS highlights our work on using microbots to kill pathogenic bacteria.


“En vint anys, amb nanorobots podrem transportar fàrmacs per dins el cos”
16/05/17

This weekend Samuel Sanchez was interviewed by El Punt Avui and ABC talking about nanorobots and the future of medicine.


L’Illa de Robinson, 22/03/2017
24/03/17

Premi Nacional de Recerca winners Samuel Sanchez and ICFO’s Lluís Torner appeared on El Punt Avui’s L’Illa de Robinson programme on Wednesday, after the awards ceremony on Tuesday night. It’s just one example of the huge amount of press coverage there’s been about the awards.


Samuel receives Premi Nacional de Recerca al Talent Jove
22/03/17

IBEC group leader and ICREA research professor Samuel Sánchez was one of the five honorees at the ceremony of the Premis Nacionals de Recerca 2016 of the Fundació Catalana per a la Recerca i la Innovació (FCRI).


Samuel Sánchez wins National Research Award for Young Talent
22/12/16

IBEC group leader and ICREA researcher Samuel Sánchez has been announced as the winner of this year’s Premi Nacional de Recerca al Talent Jove (National Research Award for Young Talent) from the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRI).


Record-breaking nanojets that use safe fuel
22/11/16

IBEC group leader and ICREA research professor Samuel Sanchez’s latest nanojets have set a new world record for the smallest man-made jet engine ever.


Samuel wows crowd with nanorobots talk
16/11/16

An audience of nearly a hundred enjoyed a special public seminar by IBEC group leader and ICREA research professor Samuel Sánchez.
The Smart nano-bio-devices group leader’s talk, Nanorobots de la ciència-ficció a la realitat, which took place in the PCB’s Sala Dolors Aleu, was one of this year’s Setmana de la Ciència events.


La 2: Tips, 19/10/16
20/10/16

Group leader and ICREA professor Samuel Sanchez appeared as a guest on the La 2 magazine programme Tips on Wednesday 19th.


La 1: Telediario, 05/10/16
11/10/16

Group leader Samuel Sanchez appeared on Telediario, channel 1’s news programme, commenting about the work of the Nobel Prize winners for chemistry, which were announced in the first week of October.


“Els Premiats FPdGi Olga Felip, Samuel Sánchez, Ignasi Belda i Mohamed El Amrani, conversen amb l’humorista Juan Carlos Ortega”
14/07/16

A round table discussion involving Samuel Sánchez, last year’s winner of the Princess of Girona Foundation (FPdGi) Award for Scientific Research, and other former winners was filmed at the recent FPdGi 2016 awards ceremony in Girona.


“Investigadors ICREA: el motor de la recerca catalana des de fa 15 anys”
07/07/16

Samuel Sanchez features in an article in ARA magazine this week which marks the 15th anniversary of ICREA.


“Entrevista Samuel Sánchez / J.M. Mainat”
10/05/16

A video of Samuel Sánchez taking part in April’s Festival de Nanociencia y Nanotecnología.


“Graphene Microbots Built to Scour Water of Heavy Metals”
13/04/16

Samuel Sánchez’s recent NanoLetters paper about self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead from contaminated water gets lots of coverage this week by news channels such as Discovery News, Phys.org and several more.


“Nanotecnólogo médico, guía de la información y maestro de emociones”
30/03/16

Samuel Sánchez featured on Oficiorama, a programme devoted to the technology of the future, which airs on TV2 on Saturdays.


Tiny microbots that can clean up water
22/03/16

IBEC researchers have developed a self-propelled tiny ‘microbot’ that can remove lead from contaminated water.


“Trabajar con cápsulas mil veces más pequeñas que el cabello humano”
11/03/16

Samuel Sanchez and the part of his lab that resides at the MPI for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart feature in a chapter of a video series by El Pais, La Carrera Especial.


Moving in important circles
07/03/16

IBEC group leader and ICREA research professor Samuel Sánchez is the winner of this year’s edition of the Círculo Ecuestre’s Premio Joven Relevante.


“Micromotores, el próximo paso en el transporte de fármacos”
24/02/16

Samuel Sanchez’s recent Nature Communications paper on micromotors that use surface variations for docking and guiding was the subject of an article in El Mundo today.


La Sexta Noche, 06-02-16
09/02/16

IBEC group leader and ICREA research professor Samuel Sánchez was one of two scientists taking part in a studio discussion on La Sexta Noche on Saturday, in a segment about what it’s like to be a talented young scientist or entrepreneur in the financial climate of Spain today.


Micromotors use surface variations for docking and guiding
09/02/16

Researchers at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and the University of Stuttgart have revealed in an article in Nature Communications today that micromotors can be guided using tiny topographical patterns on the surfaces over which they swim.


“Seis aplicaciones robóticas que no conocías”
03/02/2016

Samuel Sánchez’s nanorobots are one of the “Seis aplicaciones robóticas que no conocías” described in an article in El País today.


ERC funding to tackle pollutants in water
26/01/2016

IBEC group leader and ICREA research professor Samuel Sánchez is to receive an ERC Proof of Concept grant to explore the innovation potential of some of his research. His project “Active microcleaners for water remediation” (Microcleaners) will tackle the huge rise in pollutants in water that has been the result of the massive growth in industrial, domestic and agricultural activities.


“Entrevista al investigador Samuel Sánchez Ordóñez: “Son smart nano-bio-devices. Nanorobots autopropulsados”
21/01/2016

Article and video at Informativos.net.


“Des nanorobots pour lutter contre le cancer”
18/01/2016

Following his appearance at Emtech France in Toulouse in December 2015, Samuel Sánchez featured in French daily newspaper La Tribune.

(See the video of Samuel’s talk at Emtech France here).


Harnessing E. coli to power micromotors for drug delivery
11/12/2015

An IBEC researcher and his collaborators have taken the next step in their quest to achieve safe micromotors for medical drug and cargo delivery by developing a version that is powered by bacteria.


“Submarinos microscópicos para atacar células cancerígenas”
17/11/2015

El País has published a “Ciencia en Español” video interview with Samuel Sanchez featuring footage of his nanorobots, which can be seen whizzing through through liquid using the expulsion of oxygen bubbles as propulsion.


“Alucinantes nanorobots combatirán el cáncer navegando por nuestras venas”
04/11/2015

A video about Samuel Sanchez and his work is the latest addition to the El País/Vodafone One video archive. The collection helps promote the public understanding of technology, scientific advances and innovations, and how they affect our daily lives.


IBEC researcher in “Innovators Under 35” European Summit
27/10/2015

IBEC group leader Samuel Sánchez was one of the experts invited to attend the Innovators Under 35 European Summit in Brussels last week, a gathering of the European winners of MIT Technology Review’s “Innovators under 35” list.


Learning from the experts
16/10/2015

IBEC group leader Samuel Sanchez was one of the experts and professionals invited to take part in CEDE’s “Talento en Crecimiento” event at the Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos in A Coruña at the beginning of the month.


Safe nanomotors propelled by sugar
06/10/2015

Researchers at IBEC and their collaborators have made a breakthrough in nanomotors for applications in medicine by developing the first ever fully biocompatible self-propelling particles that are powered by enzymes that consume biological fuels, such as glucose.


Samuel Sánchez: “Arriésgate, no tengas miedo a la aventura”
21/07/2015

IBEC group leader Samuel Sánchez was the subject of La Vanguardia’s “Big Vang questionnaire”.


“Nanomáquinas para la salud”
01/07/2015

On 30 June the rtve science programme Lab24 featured an interview with new IBEC group leader Samuel Sánchez, who describes his research on micro and nanomotors.


“Un químico que puede superar la ciencia ficción”
25/06/2015

IBEC group leader Samuel Sánchez was the subject of an article in El Periódico on Tuesday.


“El cerebro que vuelve”
22/06/2015

An article about new IBEC group leader Samuel Sanchez by Josep Corbella in La Vanguardia yesterday talks about the ‘brain gain’ of having the nanotechnologist return to Catalonia after several years in Japan, the USA and Germany.


“Robots del tamaño de virus”
13/04/2015

El Periódico features an interview with Samuel Sànchez following the announcement last week that he has been awarded the Premio Fundación Princesa de Girona Investigación Científica 2015.


Samuel Sánchez wins FPdGi award for scientific research
10/04/2015

IBEC group leader Samuel Sánchez is this year’s winner of the Premio Fundación Princesa de Girona Investigación Científica for his advances in in the field of nanotechnology. Samuel’s work was recognised in particular for his pioneering design of self-propelled nanorobots that could improve the accuracy of drug delivery, as well as having potential environmental applications.


“El sueño de los nanorobots” and “Robots del tamaño del virus”
19/01/2015

New IBEC group leader Samuel Sánchez appears in articles in El Mundo and El Periodico today, talking about his career so far, his new appointment at IBEC and the work he will be continuing on micro- and nanomotors.


New IBEC group leader a top name in nanomotors
19/01/2015

One of the world’s top researchers – and a record-breaker – in the field of nano- and microrobots is coming to Barcelona to continue his career. The Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) welcomes Dr. Samuel Sánchez (Terrassa, 1980), who is taking up a new Group Leader position there this month.

Highlights

acscoversamuel2016ACS Nano
25/10/2016

Xing Ma, Ana C. Hortelão, Tania Patiño, and Samuel Sánchez (2016). Enzyme Catalysis To Power Micro/Nanomachines. ACS Nano, Volume 10, Issue 10, pp. 9053–9762

ami cover-samuelAdvanced Materials Interfaces
21/01/2016

Morgan M. Stanton, Juliane Simmchen, Xing Ma, Albert Miguel-López, Samuel Sánchez* (2015). Bio-hybrid Janus Motors Driven by Escherichia coli. Adv Mat Interfaces

small cover samuelSmall
09/10/2015

Xing Ma, Jaideep Katuri, Yongfei Zeng, Yanli Zhao and Samuel Sanchez (2015). Janus Micromotors: Surface Conductive Graphene-Wrapped Micromotors Exhibiting Enhanced Motion. Small, 11, 38, p4989