Recoverable Bismuth-Based Microrobots: Capture, Transport, and On-Demand Release of Heavy Metals and an Anticancer Drug in Confined Spaces

Seyyed Mohsen Beladi-Mousavi, Bahareh Khezri, Ludmila Krejčová, Zbyněk Heger, Zdeněk Sofer, Adrian C. Fisher, Martin Pumera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Self-propelled microrobots are seen as the next step of micro- and nanotechnology. The biomedical and environmental applications of these robots in the real world need their motion in the confined environments, such as in veins or spaces between the grains of soil. Here, self-propelled trilayer microrobots have been prepared using electrodeposition techniques, coupling unique properties of green bismuth (Bi) with a layered crystal structure, magnetic nickel (Ni), and a catalytic platinum (Pt) layer. These Bi-based microrobots are investigated as active self-propelled platforms that can load, transfer, and release both doxorubicin (DOX), as a widely used anticancer drug, and arsenic (As) and chromium (Cr), as hazardous heavy metals. The significantly high loading capability for such variable cargoes is due to the high surface area provided by the rhombohedral layered crystal structure of bismuth, as well as the defects introduced through the oxide layer formed on the surface of bismuth. The drug release is based on an ultrafast electroreductive mechanism in which the electron injection into microrobots and consequently into the loaded objects causes an electrostatic repulsion between them and thus an ultrafast release of the loaded cargos. Remarkably, we have presented magnetic control of the Bi-based microrobots inside a microfluidic system equipped with an electrochemical setup as a proof-of-concept to demonstrate (i) heavy metals/DOX loading, (ii) a targeted transport system, (iii) the on-demand release mechanism, and (iv) the recovery of the robots for further usage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13359-13369
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 10

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the project Advanced Functional Nanorobots (reg. no.CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000444 financed by the EFRR). Z.S. was supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GACR no. 16-05167S). Z.H. was supported by the Czech Health Research Council (AZV no. 15-28334A).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)


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