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Analysis and Modeling of Rigid Microswimmers
AdvisorFu, Henry C.
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In this thesis, we investigate magnetically actuated rigid microswimmers based on analytical and numerical schemes. These swimming micro-robots have medical applications such as drug delivery and in vivo diagnostics. Our model employs the method of regularized Stokeslets to faithfully incorporate the low-Reynolds-number hydrodynamics of arbitrary rigid geometries. We show how these magnetized swimmers can be actuated and controlled by externally rotating uniform magnetic fields. Our model predicts the swimming characteristics such as speed and direction. We show how to determine the dynamic stability of steadily rotating microswimmers. First, we address what is the simplest geometry capable of swimming. We illustrate that, despite the common belief that rigid microswimmers need to be chiral to be able to cause propulsion, a simple achiral 3-bead geometry can exhibit appreciable propulsion and controllability. We generalize this to explain the minimum geometric requirements for rigid rotating propulsion based on a symmetry analysis. Next, we investigate the implications of the stability analysis on the control of the 3-bead swimmer. We show that by adjusting the angle between the magnetic field and its rotation, one can control the existence of multiple stable rotation modes, leading to control of swimming direction and speed.