Online: MIE Distinguished Seminar Series with Professor Peer Fischer: “Microsystems and Nanorobots Actuated by Light, Magnetic Fields, and 3D Ultrasound”

Friday, November 13, 2020

November 13, 2020

Professor Peer Fischer (Micro Nano and Molecular Systems Lab, University of Stuttgart): Microsystems and nanorobots actuated by light, magnetic fields, and 3D ultrasound

Professor Peer Fischer Headshot

Inspired by Richard Feynman’s famous lecture “There’s plenty of room at the bottom”, researchers are striving to build synthetic motors, machines, and robots ‘bottom up’ from the nanoscale. However, despite progress in crafting static structures of increasing complexity, truly functional dynamic machines are still in their infancy. Building and powering artificial structures that operate at the microscale is very challenging, as it is generally not possible to translate actuation mechanisms and design-concepts from the macro- to the nanoscale. At this scale different physical phenomena are important and there are no ready-made motors and no off-the-shelf parts. In this talk I will describe the fabrication and operation of “nanobots” that can be controlled in fluids with light and magnetic fields and that are able to penetrate cells and complex biological tissues. Another means of power transfer to operate microdevices is via sound fields. However, existing technologies to manipulate sound have been lacking. I will discuss new means of shaping ultrasound and describe how it can be used to obtain the most sophisticated sound fields to date, and how this can be used for the directed assembly of cells and for “one-shot” parallel 3D fabrication.

Peer Fischer directs the Micro Nano and Molecular Systems Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, and he is a Professor at the Institute of Physical Chemistry, Univ. of Stuttgart. He received a BSc. degree in Physics from Imperial College London and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. He was a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University, and a Rowland Fellow at Harvard where he headed an interdisciplinary research lab for five years. Peer Fischer won a Fraunhofer Attract Award, two European Union ERC Grants, and a World Technology Award. He is a member of the Max Planck – EPFL Center for Molecular Nanoscience and Technology, and the research network on Learning Systems with ETH Zurich. Prof. Fischer is an Editorial Board Member of the journal Science Robotics and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Peer Fischer has broad research interests including 3d nanofabrication & assembly, micro- and nano-robotics, active matter, interaction of optical, electric, magnetic, and acoustic fields with matter at small length scales, chirality, and molecular systems engineering.


MIE’s Distinguished Seminar Series features top international researchers and leading experts across major areas of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering. The speakers present about their latest research and offer their perspectives on the current state of their field. The seminars are part of the program requirements for MIE Master of Applied Science and PhD students. The Distinguished Seminar Series is coordinated for 2020-2021 by Associate Professor Tobin Filleter.

View all upcoming MIE Distinguished Seminars.