Video | January 7, 2019

Metal-Free Micromotor May One Day Clean Wastewater

Researchers made tubular metal-free micromotors that swim around in water when hit with light.

Micromachines often react with fuel in their environment to propel themselves through solution. But most of these machines have relied on ultraviolet light and expensive noble metals like gold and platinum to drive these reactions. Now, researchers have made a simple, metal-free micromotor that operates under visible light. Made from a nitrogen-containing variant of graphite called graphitic carbon nitride, the tubular micromotors can jet around in water, adsorbing toxic heavy metals on their surface. The team hopes the tiny motors could one day perform tasks like cleaning wastewater.

Read more: Metal-Free Visible-Light Photoactivated C3N4 Bubble-Propelled Tubular Micromotors with Inherent Fluorescence and On/Off Capabilities | ACS Nano