Light Generated and Light Driven Micromachines for Biotechnology

Péter Galajda and Pál Ormos

Institute of Biophysics, Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Temesvári krt. 62., P.O. Box 521, H-6701 Szeged, Hungary



Modern biological investigations demand methods where a large number of tests can be performed on small amounts of material in a short time. The natural answer to these problems is miniaturization: lab-on-a-chip technology. We introduce a method promising for the building of complex micromechanical devices, where mechanical, optical and electrical components can be readily integrated.

The method is based on the photopolymerisation of light curing resins by focussed laser light. By moving the focus along a predetermined trajectory, objects of arbitrary shape can be built. The force exerted by focussed laser light of the order of 10 mW intensity upon micrometer-size objects has also the right magnitude to move them, i.e. the mechanical systems can be activated by light, too.

We have built complex micromechanical systems by the photopolymerisation method. The technology demonstrator machines have a total size of several microns, they consist of static and moving parts built together as an integrated unit. They are driven by rotors that are rotated by light. With appropriate geometry even the rotation direction of the rotors can be changed: this is an important requirement in practical devices.