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High-speed propulsion of flexible nanowire motors: Theory and experiments

Pak, On Shun and Gao, Wei and Wang, Joseph and Lauga, Eric (2011) High-speed propulsion of flexible nanowire motors: Theory and experiments. Soft Matter, 7 (18). pp. 8169-8181. ISSN 1744-683X.

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Micro/nano-scale propulsion has attracted considerable recent attention due to its promise for biomedical applications such as targeted drug delivery. In this paper, we report on a new experimental design and theoretical modelling of high-speed fuel-free magnetically-driven propellers which exploit the flexibility of nanowires for propulsion. These readily prepared nanomotors display both high dimensional propulsion velocities (up to ≈ 21 μm s−1) and dimensionless speeds (in body lengths per revolution) when compared with natural microorganisms and other artificial propellers. Their propulsion characteristics are studied theoretically using an elastohydrodynamic model which takes into account the elasticity of the nanowire and its hydrodynamic interaction with the fluid medium. The critical role of flexibility in this mode of propulsion is illustrated by simple physical arguments, and is quantitatively investigated with the help of an asymptotic analysis for small-amplitude swimming. The theoretical predictions are then compared with experimental measurements and we obtain good agreement. Finally, we demonstrate the operation of these nanomotors in a real biological environment (human serum), emphasizing the robustness of their propulsion performance and their promise for biomedical applications.

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Gao, Wei0000-0002-8503-4562
Additional Information:© 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry. The article was received on 23 Mar 2011, accepted on 09 May 2011 and first published on 21 Jul 2011. We thank Professor Eric Fullerton, Erik Shipton, and Daniel Kagan for their help on the magnetic setup, and Allen Pei, Adam Ponedal for assisting in the nanowire preparation. Useful discussions with Dr Saverio Spagnolie are acknowledged. Funding by the National Science Foundation (Grant Nos. CBET-0746285 to E. L. and CBET-0853375 to J. W.), and the Croucher Foundation (through a scholarship to O. S. P.) is gratefully acknowledged.
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Croucher FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:18
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180129-113228266
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:84562
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:31 Jan 2018 19:00
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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