Self-Immolative Polymers to Initiate Locomotion in Motors

Miguel A. Ramos Docampo, Sarah Nieto, Paula de Dios Andres, Xiaomin Qian, Brigitte Städler*

*Corresponding author for this work

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


Nanomotors that use polymers to gain locomotion is an upcoming concept. Here, we made use of self-immolative polymers (SIP), i. e., polymers that disintegrate in a domino-like fashion, to initiate motion in 500 nm silica particles. We selected a BSA-triggered SIP and assessed its degradation both in solution and when deposited onto the silica particles. A 1.5-fold increase of monomer was found in the solution compared to the controls, suggesting the SIP disintegration. The locomotion of the SIP-coated motors was shown to have an average velocity of up to ∼3 μm s−1 when incubated with BSA. These proof of concept findings illustrate an alternative polymer-powered motor design, which benefits from modern polymer chemistry concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202300016
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • BSA
  • locomotion
  • motor
  • self-immolative polymer
  • silica particles


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