At MAYA, we are currently in the prototyping phase, and are developing our platform and optimizing our materials. Once completed, MAYA opens up the possibility of performing complex operations on a small scale. In the future, we are looking to functionalize the magnet for custom applications in automated surgery, targeted drug delivery, and industrial micro-assembly.

These are the core components of our system:

  • YBCO, a high temperature superconductor
  • Linear actuators, stepper and servo motors
  • Functionalized micro-piece (permanent magnet)
  • Optical tracking system

MAYA Specifications:

  • Flux Pinning: Magnetic field penetrates superconductor in lattice of vorticies containing a quantized amount of magnetic flux
  • Micro-magnets: 250 micro-meter magnets generate magnetic field that is pinned by superconductor
  • Precise Actuation: Minimum step size of 2 microns in the X-Y and 6 microns in the Z plane

The crux of our technology relies on the YBCO, a material that becomes a superconductor at liquid nitrogen temperatures. By utilizing a phenomenon called flux pinning, the YBCO can pin a micro-scale functional piece in the space above itself. The position of the YBCO can be controlled using actuators and motors, leading to control of the micro-piece as well. To complete, an optical tracking system is implemented to rectify error between the macro and micro-scale movements, resulting in high-precision actuation.

If you are a professor, PhD or graduate student interested in the field of microrobotics and superconductors, we would love to hear from you! We also welcome discussions with sponsors who would be interested in implementing their magnets or superconductors into MAYA. Please direct any inquiries to Adam Powell ( and CC Danish Baig (

Meet the MAYA Team!

Adam Powell

Team Lead

Amir Roshankar


Annette LanĀ 


Barry Cimring


Belle Shin


Daniel Holmes


Rachel Zhang