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Scientists in Germany and Singapore have combined their efforts to produce micromotors with built-in compasses that can be guided using a magnetic field.
Each micromotor is composed of a microtube containing a platinum catalyst and iron. When the catalyst reacts with hydrogen peroxide, it produces a stream of oxygen bubbles that propel the tube forward while the iron enables it to be controlled by the presence of a magnetic field. The goal of the research is to create self-propelled autonomous devices that are easy to navigate in real-world environments.
According to nanomotor expert Ayusman Sen from Pennsylvania State University, in the future, “multifunctional micromotors are expected to create new opportunities in situations that require exquisite control over the directionality of motion, such as drug delivery and minimally invasive surgery.”