Autonomous movement of platinum-loaded stomatocytes

Nat Chem. 2012 Feb 26;4(4):268-74. doi: 10.1038/nchem.1281.


Polymer stomatocytes are bowl-shaped structures of nanosize dimensions formed by the controlled deformation of polymer vesicles. The stable nanocavity and strict control of the opening are ideal for the physical entrapment of nanoparticles which, when catalytically active, can turn the stomatocyte morphology into a nanoreactor. Herein we report an approach to generate autonomous movement of the polymer stomatocytes by selectively entrapping catalytically active platinum nanoparticles within their nanocavities and subsequently using catalysis as a driving force for movement. Hydrogen peroxide is free to access the inner stomatocyte cavity, where it is decomposed by the active catalyst (the entrapped platinum nanoparticles) into oxygen and water. This generates a rapid discharge, which induces thrust and directional movement. The design of the platinum-loaded stomatocytes resembles a miniature monopropellant rocket engine, in which the controlled opening of the stomatocytes directs the expulsion of the decomposition products away from the reaction chamber (inner stomatocyte cavity).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catalysis
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / chemistry
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Oxygen / chemistry
  • Platinum / chemistry*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Polystyrenes / chemistry
  • Water / chemistry


  • Polymers
  • Polystyrenes
  • polyethylene glycol-polystyrene
  • Water
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Platinum
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Oxygen