Bioinspired cilia arrays with programmable nonreciprocal motion and metachronal coordination

Xiaoguang Dong, Guo Zhan Lum, Wenqi Hu, Rongjing Zhang, Ziyu Ren, Patrick R Onck, Metin Sitti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Coordinated nonreciprocal dynamics in biological cilia is essential to many living systems, where the emergentmetachronal waves of cilia have been hypothesized to enhance net fluid flows at low Reynolds numbers (Re). Experimental investigation of this hypothesis is critical but remains challenging. Here, we report soft miniature devices with both ciliary nonreciprocal motion and metachronal coordination and use them to investigate the quantitative relationship between metachronal coordination and the induced fluid flow. We found that only antiplectic metachronal waves with specific wave vectors could enhance fluid flows compared with the synchronized case. These findings further enable various bioinspired cilia arrays with unique functionalities of pumping and mixing viscous synthetic and biological complex fluids at low Re Our design method and developed soft miniature devices provide unprecedented opportunities for studying ciliary biomechanics and creating cilia-inspired wireless microfluidic pumping, object manipulation and lab- and organ-on-a-chip devices, mobile microrobots, and bioengineering systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number eabc9323
Number of pages13
JournalScience Advances
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2020

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