The uncoated SiO2-Ni microhelices were prepared using the GLAD method, as previously reported (32). A Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) monolayer of 500-nm silica particles was deposited on a 51-mm diameter silicon wafer to be consistent with SI uni silicon wafer (21). Nickel (~150 nm) was then deposited onto the silica particles with an angle of incidence of 85° in our customized GLAD system, followed by silica deposited under rotation to form a left-handed helix with 1.8 turns. The wafer containing the microhelices was then treated with an oxygen plasma (PVA TePla 100, Plasma Systems) at 200 mW for 15 s, and the activated wafer containing the micropropellers was then incubated with 20 μl of perfluorocarbon silane (1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorooctyltriethoxysilane) under vacuum for 20 min, followed by heating at 85°C at atmospheric pressure for 1 hour. The microhelices were then immersed in a perfluorocarbon liquid (Fluorinert FC-70, Sigma-Aldrich) and left overnight in a shaker. After rinsing with acetone, the wafer was gently dried under nitrogen. Before the propulsion experiments in the vitreous, the micropropellers were magnetized diametrically by an electromagnet (Walker Scientific Inc.) with a strength of 1.7 T. Micropropellers (on a wafer area of ~6 mm2) were suspended into 20 μl of phosphate-buffered saline (PBS; pH 7.6) (Thermo Fisher Scientific) by sonication for 3 min before injection into the vitreous.

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