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Chemistry-A European Journal 2016, 22(14), 4789-4793

Fe-0 Nanomotors in Ton Quantities (10(20) Units) for Environmental Remediation

Despite demonstrating potential for environmental remediation and biomedical applications, the practical environmental applications of autonomous self-propelled micro-/nanorobots have been limited by the inability to fabricate these devices in large (kilograms/tons) quantities. In view of the demand for large-scale environmental remediation by micro-/nanomotors, which are easily synthesized and powered by nontoxic fuel, we have developed bubble-propelled Fe-0 Janus nanomotors by a facile thermally induced solid-state procedure and investigated their potential as decontamination agents of pollutants. These Fe-0 Janus nanomotors, stabilized by an ultrathin iron oxide shell, were fuelled by their decomposition in citric acid, leading to the asymmetric bubble propulsion. The degradation of azo-dyes was dramatically increased in the presence of moving self-propelled Fe-0 nanomotors, which acted as reducing agents. Such enhanced pollutant decomposition triggered by biocompatible Fe-0 (nanoscale zero-valent iron motors), which can be handled in the air and fabricated in ton quantities for low cost, will revolutionize the way that environmental remediation is carried out.

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