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ACS Nano 2016, 10(5), 5041-5050

From Nanomotors to Micromotors: The Influence of the Size of an Autonomous Bubble-Propelled Device upon Its Motion

Synthetic autonomously moving nano and micromotors are in the forefront of nanotechnology. Different sizes of nano and micromotors have been prepared, but the systematic study of the influence of their sizes on motion is lacking. We synthesized different sizes of tubular micro/nanomotors by membrane template assisted electrodeposition. The influence of dimensions on the dynamics of micro/nanotubes was studied at a significantly reduced scale than rolled-up microtubes, down to the nanometer regime. Both the geometric parameters and the chemical environment can affect the dynamics of micro/nanotubes. The bubble size and ejection frequency were investigated in correlation with the velocity of micro/nanotubes. The comparison between different sizes of micro/nanotubes showed that geometric parameters of micro/nanotubes will influence the velocity of micro/nanotubes at moderate fuel concentrations. Furthermore, it also affects the activity of micro/nanotubes at low fuel concentrations and imposes limitations on the velocity at very high fuel concentrations. Nanotubes with nanometer-sized openings need a higher concentration of H2O2 to be activated. Larger tubes can possess a higher absolute value of velocity than smaller tubes, but do not necessarily have a higher velocity by body lengths per unit time. Insight into bubble ejection/propulsion cycle is also provided. The results presented here provide important implications for the consideration of dimensions in the fabrication of tubular micro/nanomotors.

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