Scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have developed a way to get nanoparticles to group and move as swarms, similar to how hundreds of bees and birds can fly together. The technology may have implications for medicine, helping to guide nanoparticles toward certain organs or sites of cancer.
The research team’s nanoparticles are paramagnetic, and so are influenced by a magnetic field. To get the nanoparticles to swim together within a fluid, precisely controlled oscillating fields are directed at the nanoparticles. By changing various properties of these magnetic oscillations, the nanoparticles can be made to group into different shapes and configurations and to move and regroup.
The team also studied how to move these swarms through different obstacles, such as groups of channels and toward different locations. This is all, of course, laboratory research yet, but perhaps one day medicine will be delivered via a pill and a large external magnet that will guide it to precisely where it needs to be.
Study in Nature Communications: Ultra-extensible ribbon-like magnetic microswarm…