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Vapor-Enabled Propulsion for Plasmonic Photothermal Motor at the Liquid/Air Interface

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posted on 24.08.2017, 00:00 by Fanchen Meng, Wei Hao, Shengtao Yu, Rui Feng, Yanming Liu, Fan Yu, Peng Tao, Wen Shang, Jianbo Wu, Chengyi Song, Tao Deng
This paper explores a new propulsion mechanism that is based on the ejection of hot vapor jet to propel the motor at the liquid/air interface. For conventional photothermal motors, which mostly are driven by Marangoni effect, it is challenging to propel those motors at the surfaces of liquids with low surface tension due to the reduced Marangoni effect. With this new vapor-enabled propulsion mechanism, the motors can move rapidly at the liquid/air interface of liquids with a broad range of surface tensions. A design that can accumulate the hot vapor is further demonstrated to enhance both the propulsion force as well as the applicable range of liquids for such motors. This new propulsion mechanism will help open up new opportunities for the photothermal motors with desired motion controls at a wide range of liquid/air interfaces where hot vapor can be generated.