The new mini antenna can work wirelessly inside the living cell

A new study could allow scientists to create a cyborg on a cellular scale, thanks to with Media Lab to design a miniature antenna that can operate wirelessly inside a live cell. This can have applications in medical diagnosis, treatment, and other scientific processes due to the antenna’s ability to monitor and direct in real time cellular activity.

Scientists have dubbed this technology the Cell Rover. It represents the first demonstration of an antenna that can work inside a cell and is compatible with 3D biological systems.

Diplina Sarkar, Associate Professor and Head of AT&T Career Development in the MIT Media Lab and Head of the Nano-Cybernetic Biotrek Lab, said: “Typical bioelectronic interfaces are millimeters or even centimeters in size and are not only highly invasive but also fail to provide the resolution needed to interact with single cells wirelessly—particularly given that changes to a single cell can affect an entire organism.”

The size of the newly developed antenna is much smaller than that of the cell. The antenna represents less than 0.05 percent of the cell’s volume in research conducted on oocytes. turns up Electromagnetic waves into sound waves, the wavelength of which is five times smaller, representing the speed of sound divided by the frequency of the wave – from electromagnetic waves.

The miniature antennas are made using a material known as magnetostriction to achieve this conversion from electromagnetic waves to sound waves. The magnetic fields within the ferromagnetic material align with the field when a magnetic field It is applied to the antenna, turned on and activated. This causes stress to the material, just like how the metallic threads woven into the fabric interact with a powerful magnet by twisting.

Paju Joy, a student in Sarkar’s lab and lead author of this work, said, “When an alternating magnetic field is applied to the antenna, the varying stress and pressure (pressure) produced in the material is what creates Sound waves in the antenna. We have also developed a new strategy using a non-uniform magnetic field to introduce roving compounds into cells.”

Sarkar said, In this way, the antenna can be used to explore the basics of biology while natural processes are occurring. Instead of destroying cells to check their cytoplasm as usual, the Cell Rover can monitor cell development or division, detecting various chemicals and biomolecules such as enzymes or physical changes such as cell stress – all in real time and in vivo. “

The researchers claim that materials such as polymers, already used in medical and other research, could be combined with the operation of the Cell Rover. Polymers, for example, change in mass or stress in response to chemical or biomolecular changes. Such a combination may reveal information that currently used cell destruction methods do not.

Sarkar explained, “With these capabilities, Cell Rovers can be valuable in cancer and neurodegenerative disease research, for example. This technology can detect and monitor the biochemical and electrical changes associated with a disease over its progression in individual cells. When applied in the field of drug discovery, this technique can shed light on the reactions of living cells to different drugs.”

“Because of the sophistication and sheer size of nanoelectronic devices such as transistors and switches—” five decades of tremendous progress in information technology represented. The Cell Rover, with its small antenna, can perform functions ranging from intracellular computing and information processing to cell self-exploration and modification. The research shows that many Cell Rovers, even within a single cell, can be engaged to communicate with each other and out of cells.”

Anantha P. Chandrakasan, Dean of the MIT School of Engineering and Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, He saidAnd the The Cell Rover is an innovative concept because it can integrate sensing, communication and information technologies within a living cell. This opens unprecedented opportunities for accurate diagnosis, therapeutics, and drug discovery, as well as a new direction at the intersection between biology and electronic devices.”

Journal reference:

  1. Joy, B, Kay, Y, Bono, D.C. et al. Cell Rover – Miniature magnetic handle antenna for wireless operation within live cells. nat common 13, 5210 (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-022-32862-4