Biodegradable Small-Scale Swimmers for Biomedical Applications

Joaquin Llacer-Wintle, Antón Rivas-Dapena, Xiang Zhong Chen*, Eva Pellicer, Bradley J. Nelson, Josep Puigmartí-Luis, Salvador Pané

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Most forms of biomatter are ephemeral, which means they transform or deteriorate after a certain time. From this perspective, implantable healthcare devices designed for temporary treatments should exhibit the ability to degrade and either blend in with healthy tissues, or be cleared from the body with minimal disruption after accomplishing their designated tasks. This topic is currently being investigated in the field of biomedical micro- and nanoswimmers. These tiny devices have the ability to move through fluids by converting physical or chemical energy into motion. Several architectures of these devices have been designed to mimic the motion strategies of nature's motile microorganisms and cells. Due to their motion abilities, these devices have been proposed as minimally invasive tools for precision healthcare applications. Hence, a natural progression in this field is to produce motile structures that can adopt, or even surpass, similar transient features as biological systems. The fate of small-scale swimmers after accomplishing their therapeutic mission is critical for the successful translation of small-scale swimmers’ technologies into clinical applications. In this review, recent research efforts are summarized on the topic of biodegradable micro- and nanoswimmers for biomedical applications, with a focus on targeted therapeutic delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2102049
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2021


  • biodegradable
  • biomedicine
  • micro
  • motors
  • nano
  • robots
  • swimmers


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