A group of physicists 3D-print a microscopic version of the USS Voyager popularized on Star Trek. This tiny intrepid-class spaceship measures just five micrometers long which is equivalent to just 0.005 millimeters.
The 3D-printed micromodels can swim through liquid
It was stated to the Independent UK that the research was made at the Leiden University who have a history of printing a wide variety of the interesting microswimmers, which are considered to be very small objects capable of moving through different liquids.
The main way that the said microswimmers pass straight through the liquid is through chemical reactions. The platinum coating located on each of the objects react directly to a hydrogen peroxide solution along with the resulting force propelling them through the said substance.
Some of these swimmers, however, can be propelled as well by an external magnetic field that is not technically practical in many different applications which all require the particles to themselves be autonomous. Usually, these types of studies (the ones conducted by the researchers) make use of spherical objects, but through the experimentation of different stranger designs, the finding shows different ways to move straight through the liquid.
Other shaped micromodels aside from the USS Voyager
The researchers stated in a paper that a study shows L-shaped particles all exhibiting circular trajectories. The study also found unexpected motion patterns just like non-cylindrical helices.
The USS Voyager is actually not the only tiny object that the researchers have been able to print. Along with the newly printed helixes as well as lollipop-designs, the researchers were printed a 3D Benchy, and even a small 30 micrometer-long boat (only about a third of a human hair's thickness) that is the automatic standard test object for most 3D printers.
According to the researcher known as Daniela Kraft in her statement to Gizmodo, the 3D Benchy is a structure that was designed to test microscopic 3D printers due to it having a number of challenging features. This was said that the whole model was also for them to try on a micrometer scale.
The small models can be used to understand more things
She also stated that making a swimming micrometer-sized boat is actually fun. The research's results could include allowing scientists to much better understand the biological microswimmers which include sperms, bacteria, and also white blood cells.
The scientists also said that answering just how symmetry as well as shape couple towards motility as well as motion patterns, is still very much important when it comes to understanding both the synthetic as well as the biological active systems individually, alike, and even collectively.
Aside from Star Trek, it's interesting to see just what science can take inspiration from next. The USS Voyager is the ship that Captain Kurk and his crew use to discover more about the universe in the series. Interestingly enough, the space ship is known for its many discoveries as well.
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Written by Urian Buenconsejo