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J Am Chem Soc. 2014 Jun 18;136(24):8552-5. doi: 10.1021/ja504150e. Epub 2014 Jun 9.

Ultrasound-modulated bubble propulsion of chemically powered microengines.

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Departments of Nanoengineering and Engineering, University of California-San Diego , La Jolla, California 92093, United States.


The use of an ultrasound (US) field for rapid and reversible control of the movement of bubble-propelled chemically powered PEDOT/Ni/Pt microengines is demonstrated. Such operation reflects the US-induced disruption of normal bubble evolution and ejection, essential for efficient propulsion of catalytic microtubular engines. It offers precise speed control, with sharp increases and decreases of the speed at low and high US powers, respectively. A wide range of speeds can thus be generated by tuning the US power. Extremely fast changes in the motor speed (<0.1 s) and reproducible "On/Off" activations are observed, indicating distinct advantages compared to motion control methods based on other external stimuli. Such effective control of the propulsion of chemically powered microengines, including remarkable "braking" ability, holds considerable promise for diverse applications.

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