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This minireview discusses whether catalytically active macromolecules and abiotic nanocolloids, that are smaller than motile bacteria, can self-propel. Kinematic reversibility at low Reynolds number demands that self-propelling colloids must break symmetry. Methods that permit the synthesis and fabrication of Janus nanocolloids are therefore briefly surveyed, as well as means that permit the analysis of the nanocolloids' motion. Finally, recent work is reviewed which shows that nanoagents are small enough to penetrate the complex inhomogeneous polymeric network of biological fluids and gels, which exhibit diverse rheological behaviors.

Author(s): Alarcon-Correa, Mariana and Walker (Schamel), Debora and Qiu, Tian and Fischer, Peer
Journal: Eur. Phys. J.-Special Topics
Volume: 225
Number (issue): 11-12
Pages: 2241-2254
Year: 2016
Month: November

Department(s): Micro, Nano, and Molecular Systems
Bibtex Type: Article (article)

DOI: 10.1140/epjst/e2016-60067-1
State: Published


  title = {Nanomotors},
  author = {Alarcon-Correa, Mariana and Walker (Schamel), Debora and Qiu, Tian and Fischer, Peer},
  journal = {Eur. Phys. J.-Special Topics},
  volume = {225},
  number = {11-12},
  pages = {2241-2254},
  month = nov,
  year = {2016},
  month_numeric = {11}