This project involves the manipulation and the assembly of micro-objects using optically controlled microrobots. Light patterns are used to control the movement of the microrobots. Objectives include the micro-assembly of objects, including live cells, and the parallel, independent control of multiple microrobots in one system.

UH microrobot
The UH microrobot (visible in the top center of the image) was used to position these 100-Ám-diameter glass beads to form "UH".

Videos of the microrobots in action:

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Single-cell patterning and assembly in 3D hydrogels

Single-cell array
An array of sixteen cells. The left image shows the bright-field image, and the right image shows the live cells fluorescing in green. The white bar represents a distance of 20 Ám.

This project involves the micromanipulation, patterning, and microassembly of cells, followed by encapsulation in 3D hydrogel scaffolds. The aim is to be able to perform the bottom-up assembly of tissues and organs in vitro (outside the body, in a dish). These tissues and organs can be used to provide more realistic test models, streamlining the process of drug screening.

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Cell culturing devices

The cell culturing device project involves the trapping of cells in hydrogel scaffold in order to promote the cultivation of cells in 3D. Advances in cell culturing technology could lead to improved drug and therapy development, along with alternative ways to test live subjects. The project will also give a further insight into cell behavior, which could lead to the cure of various diseases.

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Optoelectronic tweezers

Optoelectronic tweezers (OET) can be used to manipulate micro- and nano-scale particles, such as cells, carbon nanotubes, and nanowires. OET uses light-induced dielectrophoresis to enable this optically controlled manipulation. Dielectrophoresis is an electrokinetic force induced upon particles in a non-uniform electric field. OET integrates the flexibility and control of optical manipulation with the parallel manipulation and sorting capabilities of dielectrophoresis.

OET simulation
Electric field profile of a circular OET particle trap.

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Tunable RF circuits & devices

This project uses microfluidic tools and techniques to create tunable radio-frequency (RF) circuits and devices that can be used in wireless communications systems that take up less space, operate more efficiently, and adapt to changing environements.

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