Nanoparticle mediated micromotor motion†
In this paper, we report the utilization of nanoparticles to mediate the motion of a polymer single crystal catalytic micromotor. Micromotors have been fabricated by directly self-assembling functional nanoparticles (platinum and iron oxide nanoparticles) onto one or both sides of two-dimensional polymer single crystals. We show that the moving velocity of these micromotors in fluids can be readily tuned by controlling the nanoparticles’ surface wettability and catalytic activity. A 3 times velocity increase has been achieved for a hydrophobic micromotor as opposed to the hydrophilic ones. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the catalytic activity of platinum nanoparticles inside the micromotor can be enhanced by their synergetic interactions with iron oxide nanoparticles and an electric field. Both strategies lead to dramatically increased moving velocities, with the highest value reaching ∼200 μm s−1. By decreasing the nanoparticles’ surface wettability and increasing their catalytic activity, a maximum of a ∼10-fold increase in the moving speed of the nanoparticle based micromotor can be achieved. Our results demonstrate the advantages of using nanoparticles in micromotor systems.