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Issue 14, 2020
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Self-thermophoresis at the nanoscale using light induced solvation dynamics

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Abstract

Downsizing microswimmers to the nanoscale, and using light as an externally controlled fuel, are two important goals within the field of active matter. Here we demonstrate using all-atom molecular dynamics simulations that solvation relaxation, the solvent dynamics induced after visible light electronic excitation of a fluorophore, can be used to propel nanoparticles immersed in polar solvents. We show that fullerenes functionalized with fluorophore molecules in liquid water exhibit substantial enhanced mobility under external excitation, with a propulsion speed proportional to the power dissipated into the system. We show that the propulsion mechanism is quantitatively consistent with a molecular scale instance of self-thermophoresis. Strategies to direct the motion of functionalized fullerenes in a given direction using confined environments are also discussed.

Graphical abstract: Self-thermophoresis at the nanoscale using light induced solvation dynamics

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
10 Feb 2020
Accepted
20 Mar 2020
First published
30 Mar 2020

Nanoscale, 2020,12, 7557-7562
Article type
Communication

Self-thermophoresis at the nanoscale using light induced solvation dynamics

C. Calero, E. L. Sibert III and R. Rey, Nanoscale, 2020, 12, 7557
DOI: 10.1039/D0NR01169J

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