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Issue 22, 2017
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Light-driven micro/nanomotors: from fundamentals to applications

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Light, as an external stimulus, is capable of driving the motion of micro/nanomotors (MNMs) with the advantages of reversible, wireless and remote manoeuvre on demand with excellent spatial and temporal resolution. This review focuses on the state-of-the-art light-driven MNMs, which are able to move in liquids or on a substrate surface by converting light energy into mechanical work. The general design strategies for constructing asymmetric fields around light-driven MNMs to propel themselves are introduced as well as the photoactive materials for light-driven MNMs, including photocatalytic materials, photothermal materials and photochromic materials. Then, the propulsion mechanisms and motion behaviors of the so far developed light-driven MNMs are illustrated in detail involving light-induced phoretic propulsion, bubble recoil and interfacial tension gradient, followed by recent progress in the light-driven movement of liquid crystalline elastomers based on light-induced deformation. An outlook is further presented on the future development of light-driven MNMs towards overcoming key challenges after summarizing the potential applications in biomedical, environmental and micro/nanoengineering fields.

Graphical abstract: Light-driven micro/nanomotors: from fundamentals to applications

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Article information

19 Aug 2017
First published
26 Sep 2017

Chem. Soc. Rev., 2017,46, 6905-6926
Article type
Review Article

Light-driven micro/nanomotors: from fundamentals to applications

L. Xu, F. Mou, H. Gong, M. Luo and J. Guan, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2017, 46, 6905
DOI: 10.1039/C7CS00516D

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