Stepanek Lab: Inst. Chemical Technology (6)

Prof. Frantisek Stepanek.

Contribution to MICREAgents: chemical swarm robotics. Work on controlled release from lablets and the use of gels and secondary microreactor chambers to store chemicals.

Chemical Processing by Swarm Robotics

Our aim in this project is the design and synthesis of chemical swarm robots, which we envisage as internally structured particulate entities in the ~10’s μm size range that can move in their environment, selectively exchange molecules with their surrounding in response to a local change in temperature or concentration, chemically process those molecules and either accumulate or release the product. Such chemically active autonomous entities can be viewed as very simple artificial single-cellular organisms. In the course of the project, the following topics will be explored in detail: (i) the synthesis of suitable shells for chemically active swarm robots, both soft (with a flexible membrane) and hard (porous solid shells); (ii) the mechanisms of molecular transport into and out of such shells and means of its active control; (iii) chemical reaction kinetics in spatially complex compartmental structures within the shells; (iv) collective behaviour of chemical swarm robots and their response to external stimuli.

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