Computer graphic of a micro-vehicle with iron wheels (gold) and a polymer chassis (red). (Visualizations: Alcântara et al. Nature Communications 2020)

Researchers have developed a technique for manufacturing micrometer-long machines by interlocking multiple materials in a complex way. The micromachines are made out of metal and plastic, in which these two materials are interlocked as closely as links in a chain.

The team applied a high-precision 3D lithography printing technique that produces complex objects. They applied this method to produce a mold for the micromachines that is filled with the chosen materials. The team will attempt to create more complex shapes and machines including some that can fold and unfold themselves.