Light-Controlled Propulsion of Catalytic Microengines


  • This work was supported by the Volkswagen Foundation (grant number I/84 072). We thank R. Engelhardt, C. Krien, C. Vervacke, and R. Buckan for the help with the experiments. A. A. Solovev thanks Dr. G. Wang and Prof. Y. F. Mei for fruitful discussions.


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Turn off the light: A white-light source is used to control the propulsion of catalytic microengines powered by the local decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water. The influence of the wavelength of the light and intensity on the fuel conditions provides a remote control over the power of the self-propelled microengines (see picture).