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Issue 2, 2019
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Disintegrating polymer multilayers to jump-start colloidal micromotors

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Colloidal systems with autonomous mobility are attractive alternatives to static particles for diverse applications. We present a complementary approach using pH-triggered disintegrating polymer multilayers for self-propulsion of swimmers. It is illustrated both experimentally and theoretically that homogenously coated swimmers exhibit higher velocity in comparison to their Janus-shaped counterparts. These swimmers show directional and random motion in microfluidic channels with a steep and shallow pH gradient, respectively. Further, a higher number of deposited polymer multilayers, steeper pH gradients and lower mass of the swimmers result in higher self-propulsion velocities. This new self-propulsion mechanism opens up unique opportunities to design, for instance, fast and yet biocompatible swimmers using the diverse tools of polymer chemistry to custom-synthesise the polymeric building blocks to assemble multilayers.

Graphical abstract: Disintegrating polymer multilayers to jump-start colloidal micromotors

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The article was received on 05 Oct 2018, accepted on 11 Dec 2018 and first published on 12 Dec 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8NR08071B
Citation: Nanoscale, 2019,11, 733-741

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    Disintegrating polymer multilayers to jump-start colloidal micromotors

    M. Fernández-Medina, X. Qian, O. Hovorka and B. Städler, Nanoscale, 2019, 11, 733
    DOI: 10.1039/C8NR08071B

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