Influence of real-world environments on the motion of catalytic bubble-propelled micromotors

Guanjia Zhao, Hong Wang, Bahareh Khezri, Richard D. Webster, Martin Pumera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Self-propelled autonomous micromachines have recently been tasked to carry out various roles in real environments. In this study, we expose the microjets to various types of water that are present in the real world, examples include tap water, rain water, lake water and sea water, and we sought to investigate their behaviors under real world conditions. We observed that the viability and mobility of the catalytic bubble jet engines are strongly influenced by the type of environmental water sample. Amongst the four water samples tested, the seawater sample exhibits the strongest influence, completely disabling any motions arising from the microjets. The motion of the microjets is also reduced in tap water, which contains large quantities of inorganic ions that have been purposely introduced into tap water via processing in water treatment plants. Lake water and rain water samples exhibited the least influence on the microjet's motion. All of the four water samples were also characterized by determining their ion compositions and conductivities, and we will show that there is a distinct correlation between the reduced mobility of the microjets with the ion content of the water found in real environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2937-2941
Number of pages5
JournalLab on a chip
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Aug 7

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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