Buoyant force-induced continuous floating and sinking of Janus micromotors†
A novel bubble-induced ultrafast floating and sinking of micromotors based on the difference between buoyant force and gravity is proposed. Asymmetric micromotors were prepared by modification with Au and Pt layers for the two faces of glassy carbon beads (GCBs) by the bipolar electrodeposition technique. After the accumulation of enough oxygen bubbles by the decomposition of H2O2 at the Pt layer, the upward net force acting on the micromotor drove its movement to the air/solution interface. In order to reverse the direction of net force for the sinking of the micromotors, sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) was added into the fuel solution, which could facilitate the release of bubbles and decrease the diameter of the bubbles. However, the lifetime of the bubbles was increased significantly. After the addition of a small amount of salt, the lifetime of the bubbles was obviously reduced. As a consequence, the breakup of bubbles on the micromotor changed the direction of the net force from up to down which pulled the micromotor down to the bottom of the solution. The velocity of the micromotor was dependent on the net force exerted on the micromotor, leading to an ultrafast motion of the micromotor. It still reached 1.2 cm s−1 after 3 h. Moreover, the simple asymmetric deposition technique showed great promise for the further application of the micromotors in bioanalysis and environmental remediation.