Controlled propulsion and cargo transport of rotating nickel nanowires near a patterned solid surface

ACS Nano. 2010 Oct 26;4(10):6228-34. doi: 10.1021/nn101861n.


We show that rotating Ni nanowires are capable of propulsion and transport of colloidal cargo near a complex surface. When dissimilar boundary conditions exist at the two ends of a nanowire, such as when a nanowire is near a wall, tumbling motion can be generated that leads to propulsion of the nanowire. The motion of the nanowire can be precisely controlled using a uniform rotating magnetic field. We investigate the propulsion mechanism and the trajectory of the nanowire during the tumbling motion and demonstrate cargo transport of a polystyrene microbead by the nanowire over a flat surface or across an open microchannel. The results imply that functionalized, ferromagnetic one-dimensional, tumbling nanostructures can be used for cell manipulation and targeted drug delivery in a low Reynolds number aqueous environment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Colloids / chemistry
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Electrochemistry / methods
  • Magnetics
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning / methods
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission / methods
  • Nanowires / chemistry*
  • Nickel / chemistry
  • Silicon / chemistry
  • Software
  • Surface Properties
  • Water / chemistry


  • Colloids
  • Water
  • Nickel
  • Silicon