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Issue 24, 2015
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Using confined bacteria as building blocks to generate fluid flow

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Abstract

In many technological applications, materials are transported by fluid flow at micro/nanometer scales. Conventionally, macroscopic apparatuses, such as syringe pumps, are used to drive the flow. This work explores the possibility of utilizing motile bacteria as microscopic pumps. We used micro-fabricated structures to confine smooth-swimming bacteria in a prescribed configuration. The flagella of confined bacteria rotate to collectively generate flow that can transport materials along designed trajectories. Different structures are combined to realize complex functions, such as collection or dispersion of particles. Experimental findings are reproduced in numerical simulations. Our method opens new ways to generate transport flow at the micrometer scale and to drive bio-hybrid devices.

Graphical abstract: Using confined bacteria as building blocks to generate fluid flow

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Sep 2015, accepted on 12 Oct 2015 and first published on 12 Oct 2015


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5LC01093D
Citation: Lab Chip, 2015,15, 4555-4562
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    Using confined bacteria as building blocks to generate fluid flow

    Z. Gao, H. Li, X. Chen and H. P. Zhang, Lab Chip, 2015, 15, 4555
    DOI: 10.1039/C5LC01093D

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