Motor and Rotor in One: Light-Active ZnO/Au Twinned Rods of Tunable Motion Modes

Sinan Du, Huaguang Wang, Chao Zhou, Wei Wang*, Zexin Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Precise control of the motion of micromachines is the key to achieving their functions for practical applications. The main challenge is that a given micromachine can typically exhibit only one motion mode, i.e., translation or rotation, while having multiple modes of motion resulting from a simple actuation is still rare. Here we designed and synthesized photochemically powered zinc oxide/gold (ZnO/Au) rods that exhibit multiple motion modes. Under homogeneous UV irradiation, these ZnO/Au rods undergo a transition from ballistic motion to persistent rotational motion upon increasing the fuel concentration or the light intensity. In addition, the rods can switch modes from a circular motion to a helical motion and then a straight-line motion by tuning the angle of incident light. We envision that such attractive colloidal micromachines with controllable motions hold considerable promise for diverse practical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2213-2217
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


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