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Catalytic Micromotors Moving Near Polyelectrolyte-Modified Substrates: The Roles of Surface Charges, Morphology, and Released Ions

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posted on 2018-01-04, 00:00 authored by Mengshi Wei, Chao Zhou, Jinyao Tang, Wei Wang
Synthetic microswimmers, or micromotors, are finding potential uses in a wide range of applications, most of which involve boundaries. However, subtle yet important effects beyond physical confinement on the motor dynamics remain less understood. In this letter, glass substrates were functionalized with positively and negatively charged polyelectrolytes, and the dynamics of micromotors moving close to the modified surfaces was examined. Using acoustic levitation and numerical simulation, we reveal how the speed of a chemically propelled micromotor slows down significantly near a polyelectrolyte-modified surface by the combined effects of surface charges, surface morphology, and ions released from the films.

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