Shape-Dependent Motion of Structured Photoactive Microswimmers

Dylan Nicholls, Andrew Deverse, Ra'Shae Esplin, John Castañeda, Yoseph Loyd, Raaman Nair, Robert Voinescu, Chao Zhou, Wei Wang, John G. Gibbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


We investigate the dynamics of structured photoactive microswimmers and show that morphology sensitively determines the swimming behavior. Particular to this study, a major portion of the light-activated particles' underlying structure is built from a photocatalytic material, made possible by dynamic physical vapor deposition (DPVD). We find that swimmers of this type exhibit unique shape-dependent autonomous swimming that is distinct from what is seen in systems with similar structural morphology but not fabricated directly from the catalyst. Notably, the direction of motion is a function of these parameters. Because the swimming behavior is strongly correlated with particle shape and material composition, DPVD allows for engineering small-scale propulsion by adjusting the fabrication parameters to match the desired performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18050-18056
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 30 2018


  • active colloids
  • active matter
  • light-activated particles
  • self-propulsion
  • shape-dependent motion
  • titanium dioxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Shape-Dependent Motion of Structured Photoactive Microswimmers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this