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Mobility of Catalytic Self-Propelled Nanorods Modeling with COMSOL Multiphysics®

F. Lugli[1] and F. Zerbetto[1]
[1]Department of Chemistry “G. Ciamician”, Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy

A small particle or a nano-sized object placed in a liquid is subject to random collisions with solvent molecules. The resulting erratic movement of the object is known as Brownian motion, which, in nature, cannot be used to any practical advantage both in natural systems (such as biomolecular motors) or by artificial devices. If energy is supplied by external source or by chemical reactions, Brownian motion can become biased. Recently it has been experimentally observed that rod-shaped particles, consisting of Pt and Au segments, move autonomously in aqueous hydrogen peroxide solutions by catalyzing the formation of oxygen at the Pt end. The rods move predominantly along their axis in the counterintuitive direction of Pt end.