Self-Propelled Thermophoretic Particles

tl_files/mona/images/Self-propelled Particles/Darkfield.jpgAt lengthscales of micro- or nanometers, swimming becomes an almost impossible task as Brownian motion is shaking all microscopic swimmers and normal time-symmetric swimming movements cause no progress. At the microscale other mechanisms have to be found to transport objects actively. Evolution for example has brought up molecular motors, which are confined to tracks in cells to enable transport.

Here we investigate new mechanisms, which propell particles or which allow the trapping of molecules in solution. These mechanisms mainly involve temperature as one of the key parameters of Brownian motion. By generating temperature gradients in various geometries, we steer, trap and propell particles. Our research aims at the creation of small nanomachines. 


One of the