Fuel-Free Nanowire Motors

Background: A significant part of past work on artificial nanomotors involves catalytic nanowire motors that self-propel in the presence of a specific fuel e.g. hydrogen peroxide. However many applications of nanomachines require elimination of the fuel requirement. Technology Description: UC San Diego researchers have developed fuel-free nanomotors based on multi-segment nanowires and electric or magnetic control. Both nanomotor types are prepared using simple and scalable sequential template electrodeposition protocols. Specifically electrically propelled nanomotors are created from Schottky barrier diode nanowires (e.g. PPy-Cd CdSe-Au-CdSe) and are propelled/controlled by spatially uniform AC electric fields. Magnetically driven nanomotors are fabricated by sequential deposition of Au Ag and Ni segments in alumina micropores and subsequent dissolution steps allowing formation of nanowires with flexible joints essential for the controlled deformations induced by external rotating magnetic fields that enable locomotion. Proof of concept has been achieved in both cases. The relatively environment-independent fuel-free operation of these nanomotors make them suitable for biomedical applications (e.g. targeted drug delivery) and other applications where the chemical milieu is unalterable (e.g. oil exploration). Applications: Nanomotors Patent Status: US2013241344


Fuel-Free operations

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