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Enhanced ion tolerance of electrokinetic locomotion in polyelectrolyte-coated microswimmer.


ABSTRACT: Over the last decade, researchers have endeavored to mimic the naturally motile microorganisms and develop artificial nano/microswimmers, which propel themselves in aqueous media. However, most of these nano/microswimmers are propelled by the self-electrophoretic mechanism, which has one critical incompetency: the inability to operate in a high concentration electrolyte solution, such as the most important body fluid, blood. This ionic quenching behavior is well backed by the classical Helmholtz-Smoluchowski theory and seems to be an insurmountable challenge which has shadowed the otherwise promising biomedical applications for artificial nano/microswimmers. Here, we propose that the active nano/microswimmer's self-electrophoresis is fundamentally different from the passive nanoparticle electrophoresis. By significantly increasing the Dukhin number with polyelectrolyte coating and geometry optimization, a favorable deviation from the Helmholtz-Smoluchowski behavior can be realized, and ion tolerance is enhanced by over 100 times for a visible light-powered self-electrophoretic microswimmer.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6718642 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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