Surface polymerization induced locomotion

Miguel A. Ramos-Docampo, Edit Brodszkij, Marcel Ceccato, Morten Foss, Mads Folkjær, Nina Lock, Brigitte Städler*

*Corresponding author for this work

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


Nano-and micromotors are self-navigating particles that gain locomotion using fuel from the environment or external power sources to outperform Brownian motion. Herein, motors that make use of surface polymerization of hydroxyethylmethylacrylate to gain locomotion are reported, synthetically mimicking microorganisms' way of propulsion. These motors have enhanced Brownian motion with effective diffusion coefficients up to ∼0.5 μm2 s-1 when mesoporous Janus particles are used. Finally, indication of swarming is observed when high numbers of motors homogenously coated with atom-transfer radical polymerization initiators are used, while high-density Janus motors lost their ability to exhibit enhanced Brownian motion. This report illustrates an alternative route to self-propelled particles, employing a polymerization process that has the potential to be applied for various purposes benefiting from the tool box of modern polymer chemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10035-10043
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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