Multifunctional Chiral Chemically-Powered Micropropellers for Cargo Transport and Manipulation

Ashlee D. McGovern, Mu Jie Huang, Jiyuan Wang, Raymond Kapral, Igor S. Aranson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Practical applications of synthetic self-propelled nano and microparticles for microrobotics, targeted drug delivery, and manipulation at the nanoscale are rapidly expanding. However, fabrication limitations often hinder progress, resulting in relatively simple shapes and limited functionality. Here, taking advantage of 3D nanoscale printing, chiral micropropellers powered by the hydrogen peroxide reduction reaction are fabricated. Due to their chirality, the propellers exhibit multifunctional behavior controlled by an applied magnetic field: spinning in place (loitering), directed migration in the prescribed direction, capture, and transport of polymer cargo particles. Design parameters of the propellers are optimized by computation modeling based on mesoscale molecular dynamics. It is predicted by computer simulations, and confirmed experimentally, that clockwise rotating propellers attract each other and counterclockwise repel. These results shed light on how chirality and shape optimization enhance the functionality of synthetic autonomous micromachines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2304773
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 15 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • General Chemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • General Materials Science
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)

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