Magnetic Control of Tubular Catalytic Microbots for the Transport, Assembly, and Delivery of Micro-objects

Authors

  • Alexander A. Solovev,

    1. Institute for Integrative Nanosciences, IFW Dresden Helmholtzstrasse 20, D-01069 Dresden, 01069 (Germany)
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  • Samuel Sanchez,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute for Integrative Nanosciences, IFW Dresden Helmholtzstrasse 20, D-01069 Dresden, 01069 (Germany)
    2. WPI-MANA, National Institute for Materials Science Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-0044 (Japan)
    • Institute for Integrative Nanosciences, IFW Dresden Helmholtzstrasse 20, D-01069 Dresden, 01069 (Germany).
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  • Martin Pumera,

    1. Biomaterials Center, National Institute for Materials Science Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-0044 (Japan)
    2. Division of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry, School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences, Nanyang Technological University 637371 (Singapore)
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  • Yong Feng Mei,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute for Integrative Nanosciences, IFW Dresden Helmholtzstrasse 20, D-01069 Dresden, 01069 (Germany)
    • Institute for Integrative Nanosciences, IFW Dresden Helmholtzstrasse 20, D-01069 Dresden, 01069 (Germany).
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  • Oliver G. Schmidt

    1. Institute for Integrative Nanosciences, IFW Dresden Helmholtzstrasse 20, D-01069 Dresden, 01069 (Germany)
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Abstract

Recently a significant amount of attention has been paid towards the development of man-made synthetic catalytic micro- and nanomotors that can mimic biological counterparts in terms of propulsion power, motion control, and speed. However, only a few applications of such self-propelled vehicles have been described. Here the magnetic control of self-propelled catalytic Ti/Fe/Pt rolled-up microtubes (microbots) that can be used to perform various tasks such as the selective loading, transportation, and delivery of microscale objects in a fluid is shown; for instance, it is demonstrated for polystyrene particles and thin metallic films (“nanoplates”). Microbots self-propel by ejecting microbubbles via a platinum catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water. The fuel and surfactant concentrations are optimized obtaining a maximum speed of 275 µm s−1 (5.5 body lengths per second) at 15% of peroxide fuel. The microbots exert a force of around 3.77 pN when transporting a single 5 µm diameter particle; evidencing a high propulsion power that allows for the transport of up to 60 microparticles. By the introduction of an Fe thin film into the rolled-up microtubes, their motion can be fully controlled by an external magnetic field.

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