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A Polymerization-Powered Motor


  • This research was supported by Penn State MRSEC (NSF-DMR-0820404) and by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (FA9550-10-1-0509).


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Polymer powered! A polymerization reaction has been used to power the first micromotor outside biological systems. The motor employs a form of Grubbs' catalyst asymmetrically bound to gold–silica Janus microspheres (see picture). These motors show increased diffusion of up to 70 % when placed in solutions of the monomer. The motors also exhibit chemotaxis when placed in a monomer gradient.