Research

Microscale Rockets

Shown above are a trio of microscale rockets, each about 10 microns in length. These tiny rockets are roughly cylindrical in shape, with a narrower diameter at the front than the back. Like their space-faring brethren, these microrockets are chemically propelled. They draw in fuel from their surroundings, which reacts with the catalysts coating the interior of the microrocket to produce gases. Those gases bubble out the back end of the microrocket, creating thrust capable of propelling the rockets more than 1000 body lengths/second. Researchers have already demonstrated that these tiny rockets can haul cargo along with them. Scientists hope one day to use these self-propelled microrockets to help deliver drugs or isolate cancer cells. (Image credit: J. Li et al., source)

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