Double-Fueled Janus Swimmers with Magnetotactic Behavior

Philipp Schattling, Miguel Ramos-Docampo, Verónica Salgueiriño, Brigitte Maria Stadler

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Self-propelled particles attract a great deal of attention due to the auspicious range of applications for which nanobots can be used. In a biomedical context, self-propelled swimmers hold promise to autonomously navigate to a desired location in an attempt to counteract cell/tissue defects either by releasing drugs or by performing surgical tasks. The vast majority of prior reports deal with single engine assemblies, often utilizing fuel molecules which are considered to be highly cytotoxic. Herein, we introduce two engines: (1) a motor which couples enzymes (i.e., glucose oxidase) and inorganic nanoparticles (i.e., platinum nanoparticles) to gain power and (2) a peptide-fueled trypsin motor. We demonstrate that both engines can induce enhanced diffusion properties of (Janus) particles using bioavailable and completely harmless fuel molecules. By combining both engines on the same carrier, we show self-propelled particles employing two independent engines, using two different fuels. A collaborative enhancement of the swimmer's diffusion properties upon powering-up both engines simultaneously is observed. Additionally, the incorporation of magnetic nanoparticles allows for the swimmer to move in a magnetic gradient upon applying an external magnetic field, yielding in directional motion of the double-fueled particles. These multiple-fueled biocompatible swimmers are a significant contribution to make them applicable in a biomedical context.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Nano
Pages (from-to)3973–3983
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Janus particle
  • directional motility
  • enzyme
  • magnetic nanoparticle
  • magnetotaxis
  • self-propulsion


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