Nanoparticle-Shelled Catalytic Bubble Micromotor

Laura L.A. Adams, Daeyeon Lee, Yongfeng Mei, David A. Weitz, Alexander A. Solovev

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Nanoparticle-shelled bubbles, prepared with glass capillary microfluidics, are functionalized to produce catalytic micromotors that exhibit novel assembly and disassembly behaviors. Stable microbubble rafts are assembled at an air–solvent interface of nonaqueous propylene carbonate (PC) solvent by creating a meniscus using a glass capillary. Upon the addition of hydrogen peroxide fuel, catalytic microbubbles quickly break free from the bubble raft by repelling from each other and self-propelling at the air–fuel interface (a mixture of PC and aqueous hydrogen peroxide). While most of micromotors generate oxygen bubbles on the outer catalytic shell, some micromotors contain cracks and eject bubbles from the hollow shells containing air. Nanoparticle-shelled bubbles with a high buoyancy force are particularly attractive for studying novel propulsion modes and interactions between catalytic bubble micromotors at air–fuel interfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1901583
JournalAdvanced Materials Interfaces
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A.A.S. is very grateful for the young ?1000 talent? plan for foreign experts kindly provided by P. R. China. The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Natural Science Foundation of China (51961145108, 61975035, 51475093) and Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (19XD1400600, 17JC1401700). The work performed at Harvard University was supported by the NSF (DMR-1708729) and by the Harvard MRSEC (DMR-1420570).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • bubble raft
  • catalyst
  • gas cored
  • micromotor
  • nanoparticle shelled


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