Nano-Micro Letters

Dye-enhanced Self-Electrophoretic Propulsion of Light-Driven TiO2-Au Janus Micromotors

Yefei Wu1,Renfeng Dong2,*, Qilu Zhang1, Biye Ren1,*

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Nano-Micro Lett. (2017) 9:30

First Online: January 15, 2017 (Article)


*Corresponding author. E-mail: dongrenfeng@126.com, mcbyren@scut.edu.cn




Fig. 2 a SEM image of the TiO2 spheres (scale bar = 1 μm). b XRD pattern of the TiO2 spheres. c SEM image of a single typical TiO2-Au Janus micromotor (scale bar = 500 nm). d–f EDX spectroscopy images illustrating the distribution of titanium, gold, and oxygen, respectively, in the micromotors.

Light-driven synthetic micro/nanomotors have attracted considerable attention in recent years due to their unique performances and potential applications. We herein demonstrate the dye-enhanced self-electrophoretic propulsion of light-driven TiO2-Au Janus micromotors in aqueous dye solutions. Compared to the velocities of these micromotors in pure water, 1.7, 1.5, and 1.4 times accelerated motions were observed for them in aqueous solutions of methyl blue (10−5 g L−1), cresol red (10−4 g L−1), and methyl orange (10−4 g L−1), respectively. We determined that the micromotor speed changes depending on the type of dyes, due to variations in their photodegradation rates. In addition, following the deposition of a paramagnetic Ni layer between the Au and TiO2 layers, the micromotor can be precisely navigated under an external magnetic field. Such magnetic micromotors not only facilitate the recycling of micromotors, but also allow reusability in the context of dye detection and degradation. In general, such photocatalytic micro/nanomotors provide considerable potential for the rapid detection and “on-the-fly” degradation of dye pollutants in aqueous environments.



TiO2-Au Janus micromotor; Self-electrophoresis; Light-driven; Motion control; Dye pollution; Environmental remediation

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