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Improving the engine power of a catalytic Janus-sphere micromotor by roughening its surface

submitted on 14.12.2017, 16:29 and posted on 15.12.2017, 17:06 by Brooke W. Longbottom, Stefan Bon

Microspheres with catalytic caps have become a popular model system for studying self- propelled colloids. Existing experimental studies involve predominantly “smooth” particle surfaces. In this study we determine the effect of irregular surface deformations on the propulsive mechanism with a particular focus on speed. The particle surfaces were deformed prior to depositing a catalytic layer which resulted in the formation of nanoscopic pillars of catalyst. These features were shown to boost speed (~2×) when the underlying surface deformations are small (nanoscale), whilst large deformations afforded little difference despite a substantial apparent catalytic surface area. Colloids with deformed surfaces were more likely to display a mixture of rotational and translational propulsion than their “smooth” counterparts.



  • Transport Phenomena (Chem. Eng.)

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University of Warwick


United Kingdom

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