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Shape-Dependent Motion of Structured Photoactive Microswimmers

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journal contribution
posted on 03.05.2018 by Dylan Nicholls, Andrew DeVerse, Ra’Shae Esplin, John Castañeda, Yoseph Loyd, Raaman Nair, Robert Voinescu, Chao Zhou, Wei Wang, John G. Gibbs
We investigate the dynamics of structured photoactive microswimmers and show that morphology sensitively determines the swimming behavior. Particular to this study, a major portion of the light-activated particles’ underlying structure is built from a photocatalytic material, made possible by dynamic physical vapor deposition (DPVD). We find that swimmers of this type exhibit unique shape-dependent autonomous swimming that is distinct from what is seen in systems with similar structural morphology but not fabricated directly from the catalyst. Notably, the direction of motion is a function of these parameters. Because the swimming behavior is strongly correlated with particle shape and material composition, DPVD allows for engineering small-scale propulsion by adjusting the fabrication parameters to match the desired performance.

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