Ultrasonically Propelled Micro- and Nanorobots

Jinhua Li, Carmen C. Mayorga-Martinez, Claus Dieter Ohl, Martin Pumera

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Ultrasound at sufficiently low amplitudes, specifically in the MHz frequency range, does little harm to the biological samples (such as cells and tissues) and provides an advantageous and well-controlled means to efficiently power microswimmers. In this review, a state-of-the-art overview of ultrasonically propelled micro- and nanorobots from the perspective of chemistry, physics, and materials science is given. First, the well-established theory of ultrasound propulsion for micro/nanorobots is introduced. Second, the setup designs for ultrasound propulsion of micro/nanorobots are classified. Following this, the presentative fabrication methods of ultrasonic micro/nanorobots are summarized in detail. After this, the mechanisms of ultrasound propulsion for micro/nanorobots are explored and discussed. The hybrid motion of magnetic-, light-, and catalytic-driven micro/nanorobots with ultrasonic actuation is then summarized and discussed. Subsequently, this review highlights and discusses representative potential applications of ultrasound-powered functional micro/nanorobots in biomedical, environmental, and other relevant fields. Lastly, this review presents a future outlook on the ultrasound-driven micro/nanorobots.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
J.L. and C.C.M.‐M. contributed equally to this work. M.P. acknowledges the support from the project Advanced Functional Nanorobots (Reg. No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000444 financed by the EFRR).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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