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Published July 24, 2019 | Accepted Version + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

A microrobotic system guided by photoacoustic computed tomography for targeted navigation in intestines in vivo


Recently, tremendous progress in synthetic micro/nanomotors in diverse environment has been made for potential biomedical applications. However, existing micro/nanomotor platforms are inefficient for deep tissue imaging and motion control in vivo. Here, we present a photoacoustic computed tomography (PACT)–guided investigation of micromotors in intestines in vivo. The micromotors enveloped in microcapsules are stable in the stomach and exhibit efficient propulsion in various biofluids once released. The migration of micromotor capsules toward the targeted regions in intestines has been visualized by PACT in real time in vivo. Near-infrared light irradiation induces disintegration of the capsules to release the cargo-loaded micromotors. The intensive propulsion of the micromotors effectively prolongs the retention in intestines. The integration of the newly developed microrobotic system and PACT enables deep imaging and precise control of the micromotors in vivo and promises practical biomedical applications, such as drug delivery.

Additional Information

© 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. This is an article distributed under the terms of the Science Journals Default License. Submitted 22 April 2019; Accepted 19 June 2019; Published 24 July 2019. This work was sponsored by the Startup funds from California Institute of Technology (to W.G.), the Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center (to W.G. and L.V.W.), and the NIH grants CA186567 (NIH Director's Transformative Research Award), NS090579, and NS099717 (all to L.V.W.). We gratefully acknowledge critical support and infrastructure provided for this work by the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech. Author contributions: W.G. and L.V.W. conceived the project. W.G. and L.V.W. supervised the studies. Z.W., Y.Y., and S.-Y.Y. prepared and characterized the micromotors and MCs. L.L. and Z.W. performed PA experiments. Y.L. drew the schematic illustrations. L.L., P.H., and Y.L. analyzed the PA imaging data. Z.W., L.L., Y.Y., W.G., and L.V.W. interpreted data and wrote the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript. Competing interests: L.V.W. has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics Inc., CalPACT LLC, and Union Photoacoustic Technologies Ltd., which, however, did not support this work. The other authors declare that they have no competing financial interests. Data and materials availability: All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in the paper are present in the paper or the Supplementary Materials.

Attached Files

Accepted Version - nihms-1047257.pdf

Supplemental Material - aax0613_Movie_S1.avi

Supplemental Material - aax0613_Movie_S2.avi

Supplemental Material - aax0613_Movie_S3.avi

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Supplemental Material - aax0613_Movie_S6.avi

Supplemental Material - aax0613_SM.pdf


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August 19, 2023
October 20, 2023