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Motor and Rotor in One: Light-Active ZnO/Au Twinned Rods of Tunable Motion Modes

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journal contribution
posted on 27.01.2020, 16:05 by Sinan Du, Huaguang Wang, Chao Zhou, Wei Wang, Zexin Zhang
Precise control of the motion of micromachines is the key to achieving their functions for practical applications. The main challenge is that a given micromachine can typically exhibit only one motion mode, i.e., translation or rotation, while having multiple modes of motion resulting from a simple actuation is still rare. Here we designed and synthesized photochemically powered zinc oxide/gold (ZnO/Au) rods that exhibit multiple motion modes. Under homogeneous UV irradiation, these ZnO/Au rods undergo a transition from ballistic motion to persistent rotational motion upon increasing the fuel concentration or the light intensity. In addition, the rods can switch modes from a circular motion to a helical motion and then a straight-line motion by tuning the angle of incident light. We envision that such attractive colloidal micromachines with controllable motions hold considerable promise for diverse practical applications.