We've heard a lot about self-assembling structures, but we rarely get to see a cool visual demonstration. This video shows several shapes and even complex, interlocking structures being assembled through "microfluidic channels."
As an accompaniment to a paper published in Nature, a video was made of a group of microstructures self-assembling through fluid movement and guided microchannels. We see arrow-like structures fit into notches in boxes. We see human skeletons jump around. And we even see what looks like a ladder come together. How does this work? According to the paper, it works by guiding tiny components along railways, like trains.
The guided movement of microstructures in microfluidic channels was achieved by fabricating grooves ('rails') on the top surface of the channels and also creating complementary polymeric microstructures that fit with the grooves. Using the rails as a guiding mechanism, we built complex one- and two-dimensional microsystems in which all the microstructures initially involved in the fabrication method were incorporated as components in the final product. Complex structures composed of more than 50 microstructures (each sized smaller than 50 m) were fluidically self-assembled with zero error.
Yes, yes. Science is very cool. Make the skeleton dance again.