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nanostructured film

Magnetic force bends film

Researchers from five institutions in São Paulo have developed a potentially biocompatible material that is bent by a magnetic field. The new material is composed of two biocompatible polymers – natural rubber latex, which has wound-healing properties, and carboxymethyl chitosan, a bactericidal polysaccharide obtained from the shells of crustaceans – plus magnetite nanoparticles. Using these compounds, chemist Celina Miyazaki produced nanostructured films that were deposited in extremely thin layers. She applied this material to flexible substrates and in laboratory tests proved that it was possible to bend the substrate in response to a magnetic field (International Journal of Molecular Sciences, June 2013). “The initial idea was to apply the films to endoscopy catheters and tubes to help guide them by relying on an external magnetic field,” Miyazaki says. In principle, the new flexible material could be used in artificial muscles. “Artificial muscles are now controlled by the passage of an electric current, which can damage the system,” explains physicist Osvaldo de Oliveira Junior, of the University of São Paulo São Carlos (USP São Carlos), who coordinates the group. Before moving on to possible applications, the material must undergo toxicity testing.