Catalytic motors for transport of colloidal cargo

Nano Lett. 2008 May;8(5):1271-6. doi: 10.1021/nl072275j. Epub 2008 Apr 17.


Autonomous micro- and nanomotors should, in principle, deliver materials in a site-directed fashion, powering the assembly of dynamic, nonequilibrium superstructures. Here we demonstrate that catalytic Pt-Au nanomotors can transport a prototypical cargo: polystyrene microspheres. In addition, motors with Ni segments can overcome both Brownian orientational fluctuations and biased rotation of the rod-sphere doublet to enable persistent steerable uniaxial motion in an external magnetic field. Assuming a cargo-independent motive force, the speeds are inversely proportional to the Stokes resistance, which we compute using a completed double-layer boundary integral equation. In addition, we demonstrate motors transporting cargo via chemotaxis toward a H2O2 fuel source.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Colloids / chemistry*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Gold / chemistry*
  • Gold / radiation effects
  • Materials Testing
  • Models, Chemical
  • Models, Molecular
  • Motion
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / radiation effects
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure*
  • Nanotechnology / instrumentation
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Particle Size
  • Platinum / chemistry*
  • Platinum / radiation effects


  • Colloids
  • Platinum
  • Gold