Biomedical Microdevices

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 997–1003 | Cite as

Superparamagnetic microrobots: fabrication by two-photon polymerization and biocompatibility

  • Marcel Suter
  • Li Zhang
  • Erdem C. Siringil
  • Christian Peters
  • Tessa Luehmann
  • Olgac Ergeneman
  • Kathrin E. Peyer
  • Bradley J. Nelson
  • Christofer Hierold


This work presents the fabrication and controlled actuation of swimming microrobots made of a magnetic polymer composite (MPC) consisting of 11-nm-diameter magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles and photocurable resin (SU-8). Two-photon polymerization (TPP) is used to fabricate the magnetic microstructures. The material properties and the cytotoxicity of the MPC with different nanoparticle concentrations are characterized. The live/dead staining tests indicate that MPC samples with varied concentrations, up to 10 vol.%, have negligible cytotoxicity after 24 h incubation. Fabrication parameters of MPC with up to 4 vol.% were investigated. We demonstrate that the helical microdevices made of 2 vol.% MPC were capable of performing corkscrew motion in water applying weak uniform rotating magnetic fields.


Superparamagnetic nanocomposite Microrobots Magnetic actuation Cytotoxicity 



The authors thank Eszter Barthazy and Elisabeth Müller (EMEZ at ETH Zurich) for the TEM-images, the technical support from the FIRST lab at ETH Zurich. Funding for this research is provided by Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), project number 130069 and the ETH Zurich (TH-28 06–3).

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOC 119 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcel Suter
    • 1
  • Li Zhang
    • 2
  • Erdem C. Siringil
    • 3
  • Christian Peters
    • 1
  • Tessa Luehmann
    • 4
  • Olgac Ergeneman
    • 3
  • Kathrin E. Peyer
    • 3
  • Bradley J. Nelson
    • 3
  • Christofer Hierold
    • 1
  1. 1.Micro and Nano SystemsETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical and Automation EngineeringThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatin NTChina
  3. 3.Institute of Robotics and Intelligent SystemsETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Institute for Pharmacy and Food ChemistryUniversity of WurzburgWurzburgGermany

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