American Chemical Society
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Coordinating an Ensemble of Chemical Micromotors via Spontaneous Synchronization

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posted on 2020-05-08, 14:20 authored by Chao Zhou, Nobuhiko Jessis Suematsu, Yixin Peng, Qizhang Wang, Xi Chen, Yongxiang Gao, Wei Wang
Spatiotemporal coordination of a nanorobot ensemble is critical for their operation in complex environments, such as tissue removal or drug delivery. Current strategies of achieving this task, however, rely heavily on sophisticated, external manipulation. We here present an alternative, biomimetic strategy by which oscillating Ag Janus micromotors spontaneously synchronize their dynamics as chemically coupled oscillators. By quantitatively tracking the kinetics at both an individual and cluster level, we find that synchronization emerges as the oscillating entities are increasingly coupled as they approach each other. In addition, the synchronized beating of a cluster of these oscillating colloids was found to be dominated by substrate electroosmosis, revealed with the help of an acoustic trapping technique. This quantitative, systematic study of synchronizing micromotors could facilitate the design of biomimetic nanorobots that spontaneously communicate and organize at micro- and nanoscales. It also serves as a model system for nonlinear active matter.