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Magnetic Actuation of Hollow Swarming Spheres for Dynamic Catalysis

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posted on 01.03.2021, 23:06 by Shumin Liang, Yan Miao, Xiaoyan Zhu, Jiang Wei, Qing-Feng Zhan, Xinhua Huang, Lidong Zhang
Untethered robots with smart human–machine interactions can execute complex activities such as target cargo delivery or assembly of functional scaffolds. However, it remains challenging for fabricating microscale hollow hydrogel robots that can go with autonomous transformation of their geometric formations to adapt to unstructured environments. We herein report hydrogel-based microscopic hollow swarming spheres (HSSs) with anisotropic/isotropic alignments of Fe3O4 particles in the porous wall that can navigate under complex topography conditions by altering their geometric formation, including passing around or jumping over obstacles, assembling into various formation patterns, and swimming in a high-viscosity system. We introduce HSSs into a catalytic reaction model, in which HSSs as a catalyst can shift between water and oil phases to initiate or terminate the decomposition reaction of H2O2. This dynamic catalysis is expected to construct free-radical “living” polymerization for controlling the reaction rate and polymer dispersity index in the future.