Research Article


2016, 9(5): 1310–1318


Motion-based pH sensing using spindle-like micromotors

Limei Liu, Yonggang Dong, Yunyu Sun, Mei Liu, Yajun Su, Hui Zhang, and Bin Dong (*)

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Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials (FUNSOM), Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based Functional Materials & Devices and Collaborative Innovation Center (CIC) of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology, Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123, China

Keywords: micromotor,autonomous movement,self-propelling,motion-based sensing
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In this study, we report a spindle-like micromotor. This device, which isfabricated using a one-step electrospinning method, consists of biodegradablepolycaprolactone and an anionic surfactant. Intriguingly, not only can theresulting micromotor move autonomously on the surface of water for a longperiod of time (~40 min) due to the Marangoni effect, but it also exhibits a pHsensing behavior due to variations in the surface tension caused by the releaseof surfactant under different pH conditions. More interestingly, we reveal thatthe motion-based pH sensing property is size-dependent, with smaller structuresexhibiting a higher sensitivity. In addition, since polycaprolactone is a biodegradablematerial, the micromotor described in this study can be easily degradedin solution. Hence, features such as one-step fabrication, motion readout, andbiodegradability render this micromotor an attractive candidate for sensingapplications.
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Motion-based pH sensing using spindle-like micromotors. Nano Res. 2016, 9(5): 1310–1318

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