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Analysis and Modeling of Magnetized Microswimmers: Effects of Geometry and Magnetic Properties
AdvisorFu, Henry C.
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In recent years, much effort has been placed on development of microscale devices capable of propulsion in fluidic environments. These devices have numerous possible applications in biomedicine, microfabrication and sensing. One type of these devices that has drawn much attention among researchers is magnetic microswimmers--artificial microrobots that propel in fluid environments by being actuated using rotating external magnetic fields. This dissertation highlights our contribution to this class of microrobots. We address issues regarding fabrication difficulties arising from geometric complexities as well as issues pertaining to the controllability and adaptability of microswimmers.The majority of research in this field focuses on utilization of flexible or achiral geometries as inspired by microbiological organisms such as sperm and bacteria. Here, we set forth the minimum geometric requirements for feasible designs and demonstrate that neither flexibility nor chirality is required, contrary to biomimetic expectations. The physical models proposed in this work are generally applicable to any geometry and are capable of predicting the swimming behavior of artificial microswimmers with permanent dipoles. Through these models, we explain the wobbling phenomena, reported by experimentalists. Our model predicts the existence of multiple stable solutions under certain conditions. This leads to the realization that control strategies can be improved by adjusting the angle between the applied magnetic field and its axis of rotation. Furthermore, we apply our model to helical geometries which encompass the majority of magnetic microswimmers. We demonstrate the criterion for linear velocity-frequency response and minimization of wobbling motion. One approach to improve the adaptability of swimmers to various environments is to use modular units that can dynamically assemble and disassemble on-site. We propose a model to explain the docking process which informs strategies for successful assemblies. Most studies conducted so far are to elucidate permanent magnetic swimmers, but the literature is lacking on analysis of swimmers made of soft ferromagnetic materials. In this work, we develop a model for soft-magnetic microswimmers in the saturation regime in order to predict the swimming characteristics of these types of swimmers and compare to those of hard-magnetic swimmers.